Microsoft is shutting down LinkedIn… in China

Chinese flag keyboard

Microsoft launched a Chinese version of LinkedIn in 2014, having weighed up the pros and cons of operating under the scrutiny -- and restrictions -- of the Chinese government.

Today, the software giant announces it is pulling the plug on LinkedIn there, citing a lack of success with the social aspects of the site, and the difficulties it faced with complying with the government’s many demands. Microsoft isn’t pulling out of China's blossoming business market entirely though -- rather it’s changing its focus.

Microsoft’s Mohak Shroff, Senior Vice President of Engineering at LinkedIn, explains that the company will instead now be offering a new jobs application for China, called InJobs.

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The full announcement of the decision is below:

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. 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. 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.

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. 

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.

Image Credit: Tang Yan Song / Shutterstock

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