Facebook is blocked in China, but its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg appears determined to win over hearts and minds in Beijing -- surprising a hall full of students by conducting a Q&A session in Mandarin.
Zuckerberg charmed his audience comprising Chinese and international students when he kicked off the half-hour session at the elite Tsinghua University with the words "Hello, everyone" in heavily-accented Chinese.
The 30-year-old head of the US-based networking site elicited cheers and applause from the shocked crowd, a video of the event he posted Thursday showed.
Zuckerberg discussed topics including his philosophy on founding a company and his view of Chinese innovation, as well as more personal matters such as his favourite colour, favourite Chinese dish and the Chinese-American family of his wife, Priscilla Chan.
"I want to study Chinese culture," he said. "Studying the language helps me study the culture. So, I’m trying to learn the language. Also, I like a challenge."
Facebook has been inaccessible in mainland China since 2009, one of several major global social media sites including Twitter, YouTube and Instagram that have been blacklisted by the ruling Communist Party, which keeps a tight rein on freedom of expression.