PALO ALTO, U.S. - LinkedIn will shut down its professional networking site in China this year, the company announced Thursday citing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China. The Microsoft-owned company said it plans to offer a standalone app called InJob for China that would concentrate solely on job searching and not include social networking features such as posts, comments and sharing.
In China, while the U.S. platform is currently used by its own LinkedIn-like jobseeking sites, China's Chinese platform is also widely used, especially by foreign firms.
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The professional networking service is one of the most popular social media sites in China, and also the last of major U.S. social media companies to exit the Chinese market. Facebook and Twitter have been blocked on the mainland for more than a decade.
LinkedIn said it had to conform to the requirements of the Chinese government on Internet platforms to operate the localized version of its website. The company blocked several U.S. journalists from its local newspaper and censored other content in accordance with Chinese rules.
While we have found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and financial opportunity, we have not found that same level of success in social aspects such as sharing and staying informed, the company said in a release Thursday.
As Beijing tightens down on the Big Tech, requirements for personal information collection and content regulation have increased.
In March, LinkedIn suspended new sign-ups for a month after executives were reportedly demolished by China's Internet regulators for failing tocensor political content and told to submit a review of their posts within 30 days.
In May, the China Cyberspace Administration publicly reprimanded 105 apps, including LinkedIn, for using confidential information. The Chinese internet watchdog ordered companies to fix the problems within 15 working days or face legal consequences.
LinkedIn's China operation has also drawn criticism back at home.
After LinkedIn banned American journalists from its China site this year, Republican Sen. Rick Scott wrote to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demanding to know why it had censored accounts and called the censorship gross appeasement and an act of submission to communist China