Facebook is beginning to take steps to pursue their plans to open a sales office in mainland China for them to be able to work with local advertisers, according to sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg Reports. This move, in case it pushes through, would put Facebook's employees in China for the first time despite their services being banned in the country. 

The social media giant plans to open its office in China hopefully within a year in order to cater their services to a growing customer base locally, according to a reliable source who asked not to be identified since the matter is private information. Facebook has already started discussing plans with Beijing's Fortune Financial Center regarding lease of office space, which they plan to locate in the central business district. However, the company has not yet decided whether to contract services at their sales office or if they will hire full-time employees or contractual services for their sales office. Hiring full-time employees would require an additional operating license.

Opening an office in China would be a significant milestone for Facebook given that the country holds vast markets that have remained unreached by the company due to limitations and restrictions. While the networking service has been prohibited by the Chinese government since 2009 to enter their market, Facebook established an office in Hong Kong, which is outside the mainland, to quietly build a business of selling ads to local companies that wish to extend their international reach.

For a long time, U.S. Internet companies have had a hard time penetrating China. Big companies such as Yahoo!, eBay, and others have made very little progress in the market. Google and Twitter are other famous online services blocked by the Chinese due to censorship rules.

Facebook admits that certain complexities have prevented its entry into China but this has not stopped the company from developing business prospects in the country that is home to the world's largest number of Internet users.