LinkedIn is shutting down its China platform due to a ‘difficult operating environment’

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LinkedIn is shutting down its China platform due to a ‘difficult operating environment’

LinkedIn will shut down the local version of its service in China, marking a huge retreat for one of the few large US internet businesses still functioning in the nation.

The job networking site, owned by Microsoft (MSFT), took the move because of a “much more complex operating environment and stricter compliance requirements in China,” Mohawk Shroff, senior vice president of engineering at LinkedIn, said in a blog post-Thursday.

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The business will instead roll out a new platform called InJobs later this year, a China-only site that would “not contain a social feed or the capacity to exchange items or stories” but merely function as a portal to list and apply for jobs.

“While we’ve found success in assisting Chinese people to find employment and economic opportunity, we have not found the same degree of success in the broader social components of sharing and keeping informed,” Shroff added.
Operating in China has always been tough for private enterprises, but the screws have tightened more in the past year under Chinese President Xi Jinping. A massive regulatory crackdown in recent months has knocked an estimated $3 trillion off the market value of China’s top enterprises.

LinkedIn has been offered in China since 2014. Its existence in the nation, where it has more than 45 million members, is remarkable since many major Western social networks, like Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR), are prohibited by the Chinese government’s huge censorship infrastructure known as the Great Firewall.

Microsoft has a lengthy history in China, having entered the market in 1992. Its software is widely utilized by the Chinese government and corporations, and its Bing search engine is also accessible, whereas Google (GOOGL) has been blocked out for years.

Earlier this year, LinkedIn froze new member sign-ups in China in order to “ensure we remain in accordance with local legislation,” according to a spokeswoman at the time. The corporation declined to clarify which municipal law it was studying.

“We realized that establishing a localized version of LinkedIn in China would imply adherence to regulations of the Chinese government on internet platforms,” Shroff said Thursday. “While we fully support freedom of expression, we adopted this strategy in order to generate value for our members in China and throughout the world.”

LinkedIn will continue working with Chinese enterprises “to assist them generate economic potential,” he added.

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