In an official announcement, Microsoft said that its LinkedIn site in China will be replaced with a jobs app without social networking features. In that announcement, the company cites a ‘challenging operating environment’.
As Beijing tightens control over tech firms, Microsoft says it will shut down LinkedIn in China, citing a “challenging operating environment”.
According to the senior vice-president of engineering, Mohak Shroff, the US-based company will replace the career-oriented social network in China with an application dedicated to applying for jobs but without the networking features. He said in an October 14 blog post:
“We’re … facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”
Chinese internet regulators gave LinkedIn a deadline to better oversee content on the site, as per the Wall Street Journal.
A range of domestic tech behemoths has been targeted by Chinese authorities for alleged monopolistic practices and aggressive harvesting of consumer data. The government has said it wants platforms to more actively promote core socialist values.
The drive is part of a wider government policy to tighten its grip on the world’s number two economy, including targeting private education, property, and casinos.
Microsoft would “sunset” the China version of LinkedIn and launch an InJobs application dedicated to connected professionals in that country with companies seeking employees, according to Shroff.
The new service would not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles, according to an official statement by LinkedIn. The platform launched in China in 2014 and lets people use personal and professional relationships to find jobs.
Microsoft, in 2016, bought LinkedIn for just over $26bn and despite concerns about online censorship it has worked to build a presence in China.
In March, LinkedIn, while confirming that it was working to be compliant with Chinese laws, paused new sign-ups. Two months later, it was among 105 apps that were accused by China’s top internet regulator of illegally collecting and using personal information and was ordered to make rectifications.
Last month, news website Axios reported that LinkedIn had been blocked from its Chinese platform. The profiles of several US journalists and academics, were accused of containing information that China considers sensitive, citing “prohibited content”.
For more than a decade now, Facebook and Twitter have been banned in China while Google left the country in 2010 in response to a hacking attack and censorship.
Despite the website of e-commerce giant Amazon being accessible in China, the market there is dominated by local players such as Alibaba and JD.com.