PALO ALTO, California: Twenty-first century corporate Klondyke, the People's Republic of China, is the latest stamping ground for social networking site Facebook.

Awash with Microsoft dollars, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerman has reportedly dangled an $85 million (€58.01m; £41.50m) acquisition carrot under the nose of its largest Chinese lookalike,

The US-headquartered phenomenom already numbers over 100,000 users of its English-language network in China, and rumours of a local-language entry were fanned with its recent registration locally of the domain

However, there's no firm evidence as yet of a done deal - and whatever the reaction of Zhanzuo ceo Jack Zhang, the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the Communist Party of China's thought police.

Ever-sensitive to the 'Three Ts' (Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen Square), the comrades get twitchy at the thought of unregulated free speech.

Treacherous ground - as Yahoo can attest.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff