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LinkedIn is shutting down its China platform due to a 'difficult operating environment'



This marks a significant retreat for one of the few large US technology companies still operating in China, as LinkedIn has decided to discontinue its localized service there.


In a blog post published on Thursday, Mohak Shroff, LinkedIn's senior vice president of engineering, explained that the company made the decision due to "significantly more difficult operating environment and more stringent compliance requirements" in China. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft (MSFT).


Instead, later this year, the company will launch a new platform called InJobs, which will allow users to search for jobs. Rather than being a social media platform or allowing users to share posts or articles, it will be a job listing and application portal that will be available only in Chinese.


The more social aspects of sharing and staying informed have not been as successful, according to Shroff. "While we have been successful in assisting Chinese members in obtaining employment and economic opportunity," Shroff explained.


Private companies have always found it difficult to do business in China, but under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the screws have been tightened even more in the last year. The market value of China's largest companies has been slashed by an estimated $3 trillion as a result of a broad regulatory crackdown in recent months.


China now has access to LinkedIn, which has been available since 2014. This is notable because many other Western social networks, such as Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR), are blocked by China's massive censorship apparatus, dubbed the Great Firewall. It has over 45 million users in the country.


Microsoft's presence in China dates back to 1992, when the company first entered the country's market. Its software is widely used by the Chinese government and private sector, and its Bing search engine is also available, despite the fact that Google (GOOGL) has been blocked in China for many years. Microsoft (MSFT) is a multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington.


LinkedIn temporarily halted new user sign-ups in China earlier this year in order to "ensure we remain compliant with local law," according to a company spokesperson. The company declined to say which specific local statute it was scrutinizing at the moment.


In a statement released on Thursday, Shroff said, "We recognized that operating a Chinese-language version of LinkedIn would necessitate compliance with Chinese government regulations governing internet platforms." Our decision to take this stance was motivated by the desire to add value for our members throughout the world, including those in China.


In addition, he stated that LinkedIn will continue to collaborate with Chinese businesses "in order to assist them in creating economic opportunities."

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