- Microsoft Corp. s LinkedIn is shuttering a localized version of its professional networking platform in China, becoming the last major U.S. social media provider to branch out of the country and mark the loss of a rare U.S. tech success there
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None According to the Front Line of LinkedIn, it made the decision in light of a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China. The company closed the current version later this year, LinkedIn said in a blog post on Thursday.
After entering China in 2014, LinkedIn appeared to offer a model for American Internet companies in the country. In exchange for being allowed to operate, the company agreed to restrict some content in order to adhere to state censorship rules. Other U.S. social media platforms such as Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. have long been banned.
In March in Microsoft, you could see the signs of turbulence. LinkedIn said then that it had paused sign ups for local members in China while it worked to ensure compliance with new laws. Earlier that month, China s Internet regulator reprimanded LinkedIn executives for failing to control political content, according to the New York Times.
In May, a prominent critic of China based in Beijing said LinkedIn froze his account and removed content criticizing the country s government, the latest in a series of allegations that the networking website had censored users - even outside the Asian nation - to appease authorities in London.
The greater scrutiny of LinkedIn in China echoes a larger crackdown on tech companies in the country. The government has stiffened oversight of its biggest tech firms, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Didi Global Inc. looking to reduce their rising influence.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on officials to strengthen antitrust work to ensure fair competition, part of his broader vision of achieving common prosperity and leveling the inequalities that have soared in recent decades. The problem of cutting the tech companies has been seen as a crucial element of those efforts, given the power and insight accumulated by Alibaba and Tencent among others in the global's largest Internet sector.
Even Apple Inc., which has successfully navigated the Chinese regulatory system to produce and sell the company's devices, is at greater pressure. Last month, China's top court effectively granted consumers the right to sue Apple for alleged abuse of market power — a setback for a company.
LinkedIn said its new strategy for China will be to focus on helping local professionals find jobs in the nation and Chinese companies uncover quality candidates. Later in the year, the company announced it would introduce InJobs, a new standalone job application for the country. The site won t include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.
LinkedIn, which entered the Chinese market under the name Lingying, had been the only U.S. social media network registered to operate in the country. In order to do that, it complied with certain kinds of restrictions on certain kinds of content for users in China. Microsoft's several decades in China have been marked by rare successes, as well as challenges. The company maintains a large research lab in Beijing, sells cloud services through joint ventures with Chinese companies and was the first to market a videogame console in the country. Yet Microsoft has struggled to generate a significant amount of sales in China and has faced investigations by the government. The company has also been caught up in trade tensions between China and the United States, including around partner Huawei Technologies Co.
In 2020, Alphabet Inc. abandoned plans to offer a major cloud solution in China and other politically sensitive countries. The company discontinued offering search, Gmail and Chrome browsers years before that in mainland China. None Jane Fraser Has a plan to replace Citigroup while tormenting Rivals.
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