Zuckerberg attempts to speak Mandarin in order to promote Facebook in China


Photo courtesy of forbes.com

Zuckerberg during his Facebook promotion speech in Beijing.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder, held a 30 minute Q&A session at Tsinghua University, speaking in recently-learned Mandarin Chinese, in Beijing on Oct. 22.

The Facebook ban in China was not explicitly stated; however, Zuckerberg did reference it indirectly in good humor, according to sfgate.com.

The conference was not meant to discuss the Facebook ban, however. It was meant for students to ask questions of Zuckerberg, who was able to respond in Chinese. His language skills, however, have been criticized.

An article posted on foreignpolicy.com by Isaac Stone Fish says that Zuckerberg speaks Mandarin “like a seven-year-old” due to his pronunciation and tone. However, many are less concerned about how he spoke and focus more on the fact that he was able to accomplish the feat at all.

“The Chinese language is difficult, and I speak English, but I like challenges,” Zuckerberg said during the interview.

The students he was speaking with, however, had a much more positive reception. Despite the difficulty to understand him at certain points, they were still very impressed with his ability to express himself and cheered at his efforts, says sfgate.com.

“It was a challenge for Chinese listening comprehension. But even though Facebook cannot enter the Chinese market, [Zuckerberg] is still making a fighting effort to learn,” computer programmer Li Quin said on a microblog. “It was quite a funny scenario.”