In a move that would put Facebook (FB)’s employees in mainland China for the first time since the social network was blocked by Chinese authorities in 2009, Bloomberg reports that the social network is considering opening a sales office in the country to provide more support to local advertisers that want to reach international users.
“Today, our sales team in Hong Kong is supporting these Chinese businesses, but because of the rapid growth these businesses are achieving by using Facebook, we are of course exploring ways that we can provide even more support locally and may consider having a sales office in China in the future,” Facebook VP Vaughan Smith said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.
Currently, Facebook’s Hong Kong sales office has a staff of 30 to 40 people who help drive local advertising on its service.
While Smith did not comment on how soon Facebook plans to be in China, Bloomberg, citing “a person with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be identified because the information is private”, said that the world’s largest social networking company could open an office in China within a year to serve a growing set of customers in the country.
According to the report, Facebook is in talks to lease space in the Fortune Financial Center in Beijing’s central business district.
Currently, Facebook and microblogging service Twitter (TWTR) are among websites deemed sensitive that remain blocked by the Chinese government’s censorship system.
Facebook shares were up 83 cents today, trading at $60.67 as of 10:14AM EDT.