On Thursday, LinkedIn announced that it would be shutting down its networking platform in China later this year, due to a “more challenging operating environment” and greater “compliance requirements” in the communist state.”
“Our decision to launch a localized version of LinkedIn in China in February 2014 was driven by our mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” LinkedIn announced in a blog post titled, “China: Sunset of Localized Version of LinkedIn and Launch of New InJobs App Later This Year.” “We recognized that operating a localized version of LinkedIn in China would mean adherence to requirements of the Chinese government on Internet platforms. While we strongly support freedom of expression, we took this approach in order to create value for our members in China and around the world. We also established a clear set of guidelines to follow should we ever need to re-evaluate our localized version of LinkedIn in China.”
“This strategy has enabled us to navigate the operation of our localized version of LinkedIn in China over the past seven years to help our members in China find a job, share and stay informed. While we’ve found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunity, we have not found that same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed,” the post continued. “We’re also facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China. Given this, we’ve made the decision to sunset the current localized version of LinkedIn, which is how people in China access LinkedIn’s global social media platform, later this year.”
LinkedIn then outlined their replacement strategy for China, which involves a new platform that does not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.
“Our new strategy for China is to put our focus on helping China-based professionals find jobs in China and Chinese companies find quality candidates. Later this year, we will launch InJobs, a new, standalone jobs application for China. InJobs will not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles. We will also continue to work with Chinese businesses to help them create economic opportunity,” the post concluded. “This decision aligns with our commitment to creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. While that has been our vision for nearly two decades now, it feels more important than ever as we all strive to build a global economy that delivers more prosperity and progress to people all over the world.”
LinkedIn was one of the few American social media companies operating in China, where platforms like Facebook and Twitter are banned.
To engage in business in China, “LinkedIn censored the posts made by its millions of Chinese users in accordance with Chinese laws, something that other American companies were often reluctant or unable to do,” reported The New York Times. “In March, China’s internet regulator rebuked LinkedIn for failing to control political content, three people briefed on the matter said at the time. Officials required LinkedIn to perform a self-evaluation and offer a report to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator. The service was also forced to suspend new sign-ups of users inside China for 30 days.”
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