LinkedIn announced they will be shutting down their official site in China and will be replacing it with a new employment-only app called InJobs. This new platform will maintain LinkedIn’s job search features but will be removing the social media aspects of their service, such as creating posts and sharing articles.
The president of LinkedIn China, Lu Jian, has stated in an open letter that the company will launch a series of new products and services, based on an understanding of the Chinese market, that will focus on connecting people in China to job opportunities and meeting their real needs.
However, in some media, this move has been interpreted as LinkedIn’s final farewell to the Chinese market. Lu denied this claim and has emphasised on a WeChat post that LinkedIn will only be increasing its investment in the Chinese market, and that it will neither fire employees domestically nor exit the country. That said, the original LinkedIn platform itself is undeniably seeing an end to its China journey, as the new product will be substantially different with the core networking aspect removed.
This move came as no surprise, as this year saw Beijing ordering a fierce crackdown on the tech industry, introducing multiple new rules on data security and privacy protection. These new regulations posed a challenge for many companies, also affecting foreign-owned services such as LinkedIn.
In March, LinkedIn suspended new account registrations in mainland China for an entire month to ensure that the platform complied with local legislations. Despite this move, LinkedIn still faced controversy later in June when 700 million users’ data got hacked and sold online.
LinkedIn was the first multinational company to bring the culture of professional online networking to China. Despite its steady success in the international market, this platform has struggled to make it in China’s society and digital landscape. Although it has been seven years since the company entered China, it has only been able to attract the attention of workers primarily within foreign firms.
Other than facing China’s distinct Internet regulations, another hurdle for the company has been understanding and adapting to Chinese society and work culture.