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Microsoft’s LinkedIn bids adieu to the Chinese market

PUBLISHED ON 2021-10-15 01:48:00 EST Yashasvini

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-- Microsoft shut down the operation of LinkedIn in China

-- Instead, Microsoft would launch a job search site in China

Microsoft announced that it would shut down the operation of LinkedIn in China, marking the end of the last major social-media networking website in the country.

Microsoft said that due to a “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China,” it would close the operation of the professional networking site.

Microsoft would be launching a job search site in China in its place. The new platform wouldn’t have LinkedIn’s social media features. Users wouldn’t be able to access a social feed or the ability to share or post articles, as was provided by LinkedIn.

READ MORE: China cracks down on Jack Ma's fintech conglomerate Ant Group

MARKET OVERVIEW

With more than 50 million users in China, LinkedIn had been the only major Western social-media platform operating in the country, until now.

Exporters and businessmen in China connect with foreign buyers using the app, to build interest in their products and make sales overseas.

LinkedIn faces competition from other Chinese networking apps such as Maimai, run by Beijing Taou Tianxia Technology Development Co. Ltd., and Chinese job-seeking app markets such as Zhaopin Ltd.

SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE DRAGON’S KINGDOM

Social media platforms and websites such as Twitter, and Facebook have been blocked since 2009, in China, while popular search engine, Google, decided to close operations in 2010. The chat messenger app Signal and audio discussion app Clubhouse were also blocked this year.

Launched in 2014, the then-LinkedIn boss Jeff Weiner said that they would offer a localized version of its service in China, adhering to the Chinese government’s censorship policies, but promised to be transparent about how it conducted business in the country. The company has previously stated that it disagreed with government censorship.

Last year, LinkedIn generated $10.3 billion in revenue for Microsoft. This amounted to 6% of the company’s total turnover. WSJ reported that the unit doesn’t break out its China revenue.

In September, Microsoft President Brad Smith said that China accounted for less than 2% of the company’s total revenue, and that percentage has been declining for the past few years.

In the Thursday statement, LinkedIn said that after seven years of operating in China it had “not found the same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed.”

READ MORE: China tightens scrutiny and competition rules for tech companies

Picture Credits: Unsplash

With inputs from Wall Street Journal

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