Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg holds a news conference at the… (ROBERT GALBRAITH, REUTERS )
The Chinese government is looking into buying a stake in Facebook Inc. ahead of the social network's widely expected initial public stock offering in 2012.
The possible investment, which was reported by the website Business Insider, would land the communist government a "huge chunk" of shares in the Palo Alto-based company.
Citing an unnamed source "at a fund that buys stock from former Facebook employees," the website said China wants an investment "large enough 'to matter.' "
A second unnamed source told the site that Citibank was looking to buy about $1.2 billion worth of Facebook shares for two wealth funds — one belonging to the Chinese government and another belonging to a group from the Middle East.
Officials at Citibank were unavailable Tuesday to comment on the report.
Facebook recently sold 225,000 shares, worth about $6.6 million, to the GSV Capital Corp. investment fund and added Reed Hastings, Netflix's chairman and chief executive, to its board of directors.
Facebook, which is the world's most popular social media service, is believed to be worth as much as $100 billion.