Microsoft to shut down LinkedIn in China
By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMHALA, October 15: Internationally renowned tech company Microsoft said Thursday it will shut down its LinkedIn career-specific network in China amid Beijing’s growing scrutiny of tech companies. Senior Vice President Mohak Shroff said he would replace the website in China with another dedicated jobs app but without the networking features.
“We are… facing a much more difficult operating environment and more stringent compliance requirements in China,” he said. The Wall Street Journal reported that LinkedIn has been given a deadline by Chinese regulators for content on the site. LinkedIn blocked the profiles of several American journalists on the company’s Chinese platform citing “banned content” several weeks ago.
Journalists targeted in late September said they received similar messages saying their profiles were blocked for sharing banned content. “We are a global platform that abides by the laws that apply to us, including adhering to Chinese government regulations for our localized version of LinkedIn in China,” the company said in response two weeks ago.
Microsoft intends to “sunset” [terminate] the Chinese version of LinkedIn and launch an InJobs application dedicated to the same objective of connecting professionals with companies looking for employers. “In light of this, we have made the decision to end the current localized version of LinkedIn, which is how people in China access LinkedIn’s global social media platform, later this year,” Shroff added. InJobs will not include a social aspect or the ability to share posts or articles.
Chinese authorities continued to target a range of local tech giants for suspected monopoly practices and aggressive collection of consumer data. LinkedIn was launched in China in 2014 and has grown as a platform for people in personal and professional relationships to find employment opportunities. Microsoft bought the famous website for over $ 26 billion in 2016 and was able to establish a strong presence in China despite heavy online censorship. Facebook and Twitter have been banned in China for more than a decade, while Google left the country in 2010 for censorship reasons.