The employment-focused social media company LinkedIn will shut down its China-based job site InCareer in August, according to an announcement made on May 9. InCareer is a pared down version of LinkedIn with job search and recruitment capabilities but no social media functions.
A spokesperson for LinkedIn cited a “challenging operating environment” and “macroeconomic challenges”, referring to fierce competition from homegrown jobs site Boss Zhipin. The statement also alludes to increasingly strict government demands, since Internet companies operating in China are required by Chinese law to provide government agencies access to users’ data.
The InCareer service was established as a last-ditch attempt to secure a presence in China after the main LinkedIn platform left the country in 2021. Hoping to avoid the fate of Twitter and Facebook, which have been banned in China for over a decade, LinkedIn launched a localised version of the app in China in 2014 to comply with government stipulations.
As the government stepped up its demands amid the tech crackdown beginning in 2021, LinkedIn initially complied with requests to censor parts of the site. However, LinkedIn eventually withdrew its main service later in 2021. At the time, LinkedIn clarified that it would pivot its strategy to a focus on “helping China-based professionals find jobs in China and Chinese companies find quality candidates.”
The shutdown of InCareer is part of a larger shift in LinkedIn’s strategy, which will apparently result in around 700 job losses. In a letter to all employees chief executive Ryan Roslansky explained, “We are removing layers, reducing management roles and broadening responsibilities to make decisions more quickly.”