Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to make his second visit to China as the world’s No. 1 social networking company looks for the best way to expand into that country. “Our company mission is really clear, which is we want to connect the whole world,” said Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg at the Reuters Global Technology Summit on Thursday. “And it’s impossible to think about connecting the whole world right now without also connecting China.” Sandberg also described a public offering of Facebook shares as “inevitable,” though she declined to provide details on when Facebook expects to have an IPO.
“It’s a process that all companies go through. It’s an inevitable process for us, the next thing that happens,” she said. “People used to ask us if we were going to get sold. People have stopped asking that question — we’re not … No one is buying us, we’re going public.” The comments came as LinkedIn, a social networking site for professionals, made its debut on Thursday as a publicly traded company, whose shares more than doubled. Sandberg said the LinkedIn IPO validated the importance of the business behind social networking. Founded in a Harvard dorm room in 2004 by the now 27-year-old Zuckerberg, Facebook threatens Internet companies like Google and Yahoo as it becomes a popular online destination for Web surfers and an important marketing channel for advertisers.
In the first quarter, Facebook accounted for nearly one-third of the graphical, online display ad impressions in the U.S. according to research firm comScore. “We are becoming core to people’s advertising strategy and their advertising buy, going from spending tens of thousands to the millions to bigger than that. We have hundreds of thousands of advertisers,” Sandberg said, though she declined to provide specific revenue figures for Facebook.