Zuckerberg's 'ni hao' impresses students

Updated: 2014-10-23 15:59


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Facebook is to launch a recruitment program in China seeking high-tech experts next year, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in Beijing.

The social media giant offered 20 positions to Chinese students last month and reports say more than 140 employees of the company graduated from Beijing's prestigious Tsinghai University.

Casually dressed in his trademark T-shirt, Zuckerberg entertained an audience of students with a 30-minute chat in his recently learned Mandarin Chinese.

It was his first public Q&A in Chinese, Zuckerberg later claimed on Facebook.

"I did my first ever public Q&A in Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing! We discussed connecting the world, Internet.org, innovation and the early days of Facebook," Zuckerberg posted.

The post earned more than 28,000 "likes" within 10 hours.

During Wednesday's question-and-answer session, he noted that Facebook has been helping some Chinese companies in foreign markets. He cited computer maker Lenovo's ads on Facebook in India.

"We are already in China. We help Chinese companies gain customers abroad,'' Zuckerberg said. ''We want to help the rest of the world connect to China".

Zuckerberg's Mandarin pronunciation was far from fluent, but he was able to maintain intelligible conversation and the students responded with warm cheers for his effort and laughed at his humor.

"I laughed at every single joke, not having any clue what he was saying," a student called Brady Voss posted on Facebook.

Zuckerberg married Chinese-American Priscilla Chan in 2012, and set himself the goal of learning Mandarin in 2010. He said on Wednesday that he wanted to learn the language partly because his wife's grandmother only speaks Chinese.

Zuckerberg said China is a great country and hopes that learning the language will help him learn its culture. "The Chinese language is difficult, and I speak English, but I like challenges," Zuckerberg said.

It was the fourth time Zuckerberg has visited China, and cities he toured before included Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Tianjin.

He is in China this time as a newly-appointed member of the advisory board for Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management.