Microsoft launched a Chinese version of LinkedIn in 2014, after weighing the pros and cons of operating under the scrutiny – and restrictions – of the Chinese government.
Today, the software giant announces that it is taking LinkedIn offline there, citing the lack of success with the social aspects of the site and the difficulties it faced in meeting the many demands of the government. However, Microsoft is not completely withdrawing from China’s burgeoning enterprise market, but is changing its approach.
Mohak Shroff, Microsoft’s senior vice president of engineering for LinkedIn, explains that the company will now offer a new job application for China, called InJobs.
The full announcement of the decision is below:
Our decision to launch a localized version of LinkedIn in China in February 2014 was driven by our mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. We recognized that operating a localized version of LinkedIn in China would mean meeting Chinese government requirements on Internet platforms. While we strongly support freedom of expression, we take this approach to create value for our members in China and around the world. We also established a clear set of guidelines to follow in case we ever had to re-evaluate our localized version of LinkedIn in China.
This strategy has allowed us to navigate our localized version of LinkedIn in China for the past seven years to help our members in China find a job, share and stay informed. While we have been successful in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunities, we have not found the same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed. We also face a significantly more challenging operating environment and higher compliance requirements in China. Given this, we have made the decision to retire the current localized version of LinkedIn, which is how people in China access LinkedIn’s global social media platform, later this year.
Our new strategy for China is to 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 freelance employment app for China. InJobs will not include a social channel or the ability to share posts or articles. We will also continue to work with Chinese companies 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, it feels more important than ever as we all strive to build a global economy that brings more prosperity and progress to people around the world.