- Microsoft-owned LinkedIn said that greater compliance requirements made it impossible to continue operations in China.
- LinkedIn will replace the site with a job portal, called InJobs, a stripped-down version, which will not have its social feed or share options.
- However, some experts believe that LinkedIn might have gotten into far greater trouble if it had continued censoring on behalf of the Chinese authorities.
LinkedIn said it will stop services in China later this year as Beijing tightens control on the internet companies. It is the last major US social media company to shut shop.
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn said that greater compliance requirements have made it impossible to carry on about seven years after its launch in the country.
LinkedIn will replace the site with a job portal, called InJobs, a stripped-down version, which will not have its social feed or share options. Earlier, China had banned Twitter, Facebook, and Google.
LinkedIn had launched its China service in 2014.
Beijing has recently imposed fresh curbs on internet companies over privacy issues.
In March, LinkedIn had stopped new sign-ups to comply with Chinese laws and had blocked the contents of several prominent US scribes and scholars that China considers sensitive. The Chinese government also said it wants social media platforms to promote socialist values more actively.
LinkedIn was among some 100 apps that Chinese regulators had accused of illegally collecting user data. However, Microsoft’s Bing search engine is still accessible from within China, Reuters reported.
Many Chinese exporters and businesspeople had regularly used LinkedIn to connect with foreign buyers. But LinkedIn also faces competition from several local rivals like Maimai and Zhaopin.
Many Chinese technology professionals also use the local networking app Maimai, run by Beijing-based Taou Tianxia Technology Development Co. Ltd., while Zhaopin is a job-seeking app market.
LinkedIn’s Open Sharing Model
However, some experts believe LinkedIn might have gotten into a bigger problem if it continued censoring content due to Chinese requests. According to Georgetown University prof Evan Medeiros, cited by Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn’s reputation and global business model as a free and open sharing platform might have come under question.
In 2015, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had hosted President Xi Jinping during his visit to the US. In the subsequent years, Microsoft’s business engagement continued to grow in China. For instance, in 2017, it had launched a version of its Windows 10 software exclusively for the Chinese government use.
But last year, Microsoft got drawn into US-China tensions over the short-video app TikTok, which it offered to buy but eventually fell apart. LinkedIn had generated revenue of US$10.3 billion in the last financial year or about 6% of Microsoft’s company’s total turnover.