Facebook chief woos Moscow

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The Independent Online

The Facebook chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has held talks with the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, in Moscow as the country's government looks to strengthen ties with the world's biggest social networking website.

Mr Zuckerberg visited Skolkovo, a new technology city being built outside the Russian capital, and Mr Medvedev is said to be keen for Facebook to set up an office there.

But the Russian media has also speculated that Mr Zuckerberg would like to headhunt some of the country's top computer engineers and bring them to America.

Although Facebook is popular in Russia, it is far from dominant, as there are several home-grown social networks, such as the market leader, VKontakte, and Odnoklassniki.

Mr Zuckerberg, who is learning to speak Mandarin, is keen to expand Facebook in emerging markets such as China and Russia.

Facebook already has links to Russia as the investment firm DST Global has a stake of at least 5 per cent in the US website.