Nearly seven years after its launch, Microsoft is shutting down LinkedIn in China, marking the end of the last major US-owned social network in the country as Chinese authorities tighten their grip on the internet.
In a country where the internet is closely monitored by the government, LinkedIn’s move completes the fracture between American social networks and China, as Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in the country for years, and Google left more than a decade ago.
LinkedIn said in a blogpost on Thursday that the platform will be replaced later this year with a stripped-down version dubbed “InJobs” that would focus just on jobs and would not feature a social feed or share options.
What LinkedIn is saying
LinkedIn says its decision follows, “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements.”
The company said “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. We’re also facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.
“Our new strategy for China is to put our focus on helping China-based professionals find jobs in China and Chinese companies find quality candidates. Later this year, we will launch InJobs, a new, standalone jobs application for China. InJobs will not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles. We will also continue to work with Chinese businesses to help them create economic opportunities.
“This decision aligns with our commitment to creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. While that has been our vision for nearly two decades now, it feels more important than ever as we all strive to build a global economy that delivers more prosperity and progress to people all over the world.”
What you should know
In 2014, LinkedIn launched in China, with the goal of connecting the world’s professionals in order to make them more productive and successful.
LinkedIn was one of the companies targeted by Beijing’s broad crackdown over the last year, which has put new restrictions on its internet companies in areas ranging from content to consumer privacy.
In addition, the Chinese government has stated that it wants platforms to promote core socialist principles more aggressively.
LinkedIn stopped new sign-ups in China in March, citing a need to comply with Chinese regulations. It was one of 105 applications accused by China’s top internet regulator of illegally gathering and exploiting personal information and forced to make corrections two months later.
Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are among the social media platforms that are prohibited in the country.