Microsoft has shut down LinkedIn in China as it finds compliance with China’s state more difficult than ever.
After some questions about the blocking of profiles by journalists, the career-networking platform made the decision to do so.
LinkedIn is set to launch InJobs later in the year as a job-only site.
However, this does not allow for a social feed and the possibility to post or share articles.
Mohak Shroff (Senior Vice President at LinkedIn) blogs: “We face a substantially more difficult operating environment, and greater compliance demands in China.”
The firm released a statement saying that while we plan to discontinue the Chinese version of LinkedIn later in the year, our presence will still be strong in China. We are also excited to launch InJobs later in the year.
LinkedIn was the sole major Western social media platform that had an office in China.
It had signed an agreement to comply with the Chinese government’s requirements when it opened in 2014. However, the company also pledged to make it transparent about its business operations in China and to not adhere to government censorship.
LinkedIn has recently banned several accounts of journalists from China-based websites, including Melissa Chan and Greg Bruno.
Verdict was told by Bruno that he wrote a book about China’s treatment Tibetan refugees. He said that he wasn’t surprised the Chinese Communist Party didn’t like the book but was shocked at the fact an American tech company was willing to submit to the demands of foreign governments.
In a letter addressed to Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn CEO and Satya Nadella, US Senator Rick Scott described the action as “gross appeasement” and an act to submit to Communist China.
Zhaoyin Fueng, BBC News Washington
LinkedIn’s actions may have been driven either by US pressure or Chinese pressure. As the Chinese government tightens its control over internet access, LinkedIn is being criticized in America for bending to Beijing’s censorship rules.
LinkedIn launched its Chinese-language version in 2014 to take advantage of China’s large market.
Seven years later, LinkedIn has continued to face challenges from local rivals and ran into regulatory issues. According to reports, LinkedIn was suspended for thirty days by China’s regulator in March for not censoring political content. Apart from the controversy about censorships and recruitment, Chinese intelligence agencies have used LinkedIn as an recruiting tool.
Lu Jian, the President of LinkedIn China, has pledged that the site would continue “to connect global business opportunities” in a note to users.
LinkedIn’s China shutdown has shown the contrary trend. China’s internet, which is tightly controlled by the government, has become more distant from the rest. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for foreign businesses operating in China to reach the other side of this deep divide.