Facebook founder and all-around bossman Mark Zuckerberg was apparently so eager to get Facebook accessible in China, where it has been blocked since 2009, that he tried to chat up Chinese president Xi Jinping on baby names.
The little tidbit on Zuck’s thirst for global domination comes from a thorough look in the New York Times at how the social media platform is trying to maneuver a world filled with a variety of government regulations and crackdowns.
According to the Times:
At a White House dinner in 2015, Mr. Zuckerberg had even asked the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, whether Mr. Xi might offer a Chinese name for his soon-to-be-born first child — usually a privilege reserved for older relatives, or sometimes a fortune teller. Mr. Xi declined, according to a person briefed on the matter.
Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan have two daughters, Maxima and Augusta. And in 2016, Zuck and Chan (who is the daughter of ethnic Chinese refugees who fled Vietnam) posted a video on Zuck’s Facebook page for the Lunar New Year in which the couple spoke in Mandarin and discussed Max’s Chinese name, Chen Mingyu.
It wasn’t the first time that Zuck has publicly displayed his Mandarin skills, having also posted a Lunar New Year video in 2015 in which he spoke completely in Mandarin.
Later in 2015, he also delivered a speech at Tsinghua University in Beijing, also completely in Mandarin.
So far, neither these efforts or other (more head-scratching) attempts to ingratiate himself with the Chinese, like the infamous photo of him taking a jog through a smoggy Tienanmen Square in Beijing, have borne fruit for Zuckerberg and Facebook.
As the Times notes, after that chat with President Xi in 2015, Zuckerberg’s name appeared only once — in a list of tech executives Xi met with — in the Chinese account of the visit which means Zuck has more huffing and puffing to do in his attempt to summit this particular difficult mountain.