Microsoft shuts down LinkedIn in China

By Laura Berrill
Microsoft shuts down the social network of LinkedIn in China, saying complying with Chinese state is too challenging

The move comes after the career-networking site faced questions for blocking the profiles of some journalists. Instead, LinkedIn will launch a jobs-only version of the site, called InJobs, later this year. The new site however will not include a social feed or the ability to share or post articles.

Mohak Shroff, senior vice president of LinkedIn said of the decision in a blog: "We're facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China."

And a statement from the firm added: "While we are going to sunset the localised version of LinkedIn in China later this year, we will continue to have a strong presence in China to drive our new strategy and are excited to launch the new InJobs app later this year."

Adhering to Chinese government rules

LinkedIn had been the only major Western social-media platform operating in China.

When it launched there in 2014, it had agreed to adhere to the requirements of the Chinese government in order to operate, but also promised to be transparent about how it conducted business in the country. It also said it disagreed with government censorship.

But recently, LinkedIn blacklisted several journalist accounts, including those of Melissa Chan and Greg Bruno, from its China-based website.

Bruno, who has written a book documenting China's treatment of Tibetan refugees,said he was not surprised the Chinese Communist Party did not like it but is reported as saying he was "dismayed that an American tech company is caving into the demands of a foreign government".

And US senator Rick Scott called the move a "gross appeasement and an act of submission to Communist China", in a letter to LinkedIn chief executive Ryan Roslansky and Microsoft boss Satya Nadella.

Struggles with regulation and competitors

Seven years on from its launch in China, LinkedIn has struggled against local competitors and run into regulatory problems. In March, it was reportedly punished by the Chinese regulator for failing to censor political content, resulting in a suspension of new user registration for 30 days.

In a letter to the platform's users in China, President of LinkedIn China Lu Jian pledged that the site will continue to "connect global business opportunities".

 

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