A while back, we paid a paparazzo to tail Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. But during his high-profile trip to China this week, Chinese fans are doing the stalking for free. Here's a gallery of their Zuckerberg-in-China snapshots.

Zuckerberg has expressed interest in branching out to China, and he's been dropping by major tech companies in what looks like an early reconnaissance mission to that end. Judging by these pictures, snapped by starstruck employees and uploaded to Chinese microbloging services, many in the Chinese tech industry are welcoming Zuckerberg as a nerd superstar even as the Great Firewall continues to block Facebook.

Take a look! Maybe you can spot the germ of the deal that launches Facebook's China takeover. [Via Shanghaist]

That's Zuckerberg with Jack Ma (in the orange), founder and CEO of the Alibaba Group, China's biggest e-commerce outfit. The Wall Street Journal says this meeting was "a source of some sensitivity for Alibaba, for reasons that aren't clear," and Alibaba wouldn't confirm Zuckerberg's presence even with the photographic evidence. Hmm....

Here he is with Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, China's largest search engine, at Baidu's headquarters. Zuckerberg's girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, is on the left. (Li later joked on Twitter that "rumors that Baidu is about to aquire Facebook are greatly exaggerated.")

Zuckerberg stopped by Sina, whose microblogging platform Weibo should reach 100 million users in 2011, according to Shanghaist. Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009.

Zuck must be a little off-put by Sina HQ's constrictive cubicles and lack of quirky engineers zipping around on Razor scooters.

Zuckerberg at Sina. Twenty bucks says that poster has "MASTER PLAN" written on it in Sharpie.