Microsoft made headlines today in the: technological, regulatory, and international spheres announcing that its LinkedIn service will eventually cease operations in China. Citing that cooperating with the Chinese government has grown more challenging.
And as a result, this development comes after the career-networking site was criticised for blocking the profiles of some journalists.
Later this year, LinkedIn will introduce an exclusive employment section of the site called InJobs. However, this excludes a social feed and the option to share or publish content.
In his blog, LinkedIn senior vice-president Mohak Shroff cited: "We're facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China."
Also, LinkedIn in an official statement mentioned: "While we are going to sunset the localised version of LinkedIn in China later this year, we will continue to have a strong presence in China to drive our new strategy and are excited to launch the new InJobs app later this year."
‘Submission to Communist’ Rick Scott to LinkedIn
LinkedIn has been the only primary Western social networking site functioning in China for some time.
When it began operations in China in 2014, it pledged to comply with the Chinese government's rules for operating there. It also vowed to be open about how it did business in the nation and expressed opposition to government censorship.
LinkedIn has removed numerous journalist accounts from its China-based platform, including Melissa Chan and Greg Bruno.
Bruno, who has authored a book on China's treatment of Tibetan exiles, told Verdict he was unsurprised the Chinese Communist Party objected but was "dismayed that an American tech company is caving into the foreign government demands."
China's internet continues to drift dangerously apart.
It's difficult to determine if LinkedIn's decision was motivated by Chinese or US pressure. However, it may be both since the Chinese government has tightened its control on the internet. Resulting in LinkedIn coming under fire in the United States for complying with Beijing's censorship regulations.
LinkedIn launched its Chinese edition in 2014, aiming to capitalise on the enormous market in the nation.
After seven years, it continues to grapple against domestic competitors and has fallen afoul of regulatory requirements. In March, China's regulator allegedly sanctioned LinkedIn for failing to filter political material, which resulted in a 30-day ban of new user registration. Apart from the issue of censorship, the site has been utilized as a recruiting tool by Chinese intelligence services.
LinkedIn China President Lu Jian said today in a message to the platform's Chinese users that the site would continue to "connect worldwide business prospects."
However, LinkedIn's demise in China demonstrates the opposite tendency. The country's tightly regulated internet has become more disconnected from the rest of the world. Thereby, making it increasingly difficult for foreign companies operating in China to breach the gap.