Chinese state media criticizes Mark Zuckerberg over his alleged plan to sell Quest headsets

On Wednesday, a Chinese state-controlled media outlet issued a scathing critique of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, accusing him of detrimental actions towards the Chinese markets and essentially “shooting himself in the foot.”

Following reports from The Wall Street Journal that Meta (formerly Facebook) was engaged in ongoing discussions with Tencent to sell its Quest headsets in mainland China, a WeChat account affiliated with the Beijing Daily, published an editorial expressing criticism on the matter.

In a translated editorial, it was stated that Mark Zuckerberg’s previous criticisms of Chinese companies, such as ByteDance’s TikTok, have effectively undermined his own efforts to sell in China. Zuckerberg’s past criticism of both specific Chinese companies and general Chinese corporate espionage was highlighted as self-sabotaging his goals.

During his testimony before Congress in 2020, Mark Zuckerberg stated, “I think it’s well documented that the Chinese government steals technology from American companies.”

In his 2020 testimony before Congress, Mark Zuckerberg asserted, “There is ample evidence to support the fact that the Chinese government engages in technology theft from American companies.”

The editorial drew attention to the visits of Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk as instances of successful engagement with the Chinese regime and markets. It further noted that Mark Zuckerberg’s company had struggled to establish a presence in China, in contrast to other tech companies.

Google exited mainland China in 2013, and Microsoft, while maintaining long-standing operations, announced its intention to sunset its LinkedIn-like app in China by August.

In public, Mark Zuckerberg has referred to TikTok as a “very effective competitor,” while reportedly expressing privately that the company poses a considerable threat to American businesses.

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Following a meeting with Zuckerberg and discussions about TikTok, Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, co-authored a letter to U.S. intelligence officials, urging an investigation into TikTok, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Despite senior officials at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security issuing warnings about the significant threat of Chinese cyberattacks, there appears to be a contrast in the willingness of U.S. officials and tech CEOs to openly identify China as a cyber adversary.

While officials openly name China as a threat, tech CEOs seem to exhibit reluctance or retract open criticism of the Chinese regime.

During their testimonies in February 2020, neither Google CEO Sundar Pichai nor Apple CEO Tim Cook explicitly acknowledged Chinese industrial espionage. However, Pichai did mention later in his testimony that China had compromised Google’s intellectual property during a cyberattack in 2009.

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