One of the last remaining Western social networking platforms operating in China is finally calling it quits. Microsoft announced that it will shut down its localized version of LinkedIn in China by the end of the year.
LinkedIn’s History in China
LinkedIn launched a localized version of the platform in China in February 2014. They cite the move was “driven by our mission to connect the world’s professionals and make them more productive and successful.” They acknowledged the government restrictions and backlash from those that supported freedom of expression, but felt the localized platform was beneficial to China’s professionals.
Why is LinkedIn Leaving China?
China heavily censors which companies are allowed to operate in the country, especially online. Microsoft hinted this was a major reason behind closing down its China-version of LinkedIn. The company cited “a significantly more challenging operating environment”, as well as enhanced compliance requirements and lack of success with its social aspects as reasons for shutting down.
“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 company said, “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’s Future in China
While LinkedIn is shutting down its localized version of the platform, it’s not leaving China completely. Microsoft plans to launch InJobs, a new, standalone job application for the country. Unlike LinkedIn, InJobs won’t have any of the social features the main platform does like a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.
Why this Matters
Microsoft’s decision to sunset LinkedIn in China will hinder B2B businesses that partner there or use the platform for communication. This also means that LinkedIn advertisers won’t have access to users in China. However, InJobs will likely still have some of these capabilities.
LinkedIn leaving China is the last domino to fall as they are the last remaining major Western-based social media platform to operate in the country. Other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, Pinterest, and Reddit are all blocked in China. Right now, TikTok is still active, but is based in the country and actively censors content.