LinkedIn closes store in China

LinkedIn, the last remaining US social media site allowed to operate in China, is shutting down, citing the country’s “challenging work environment”.

LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, follows Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and others when banning or severely restricting it in China. Microsoft has also come under criticism at home from US politicians who accuse it of appeasing China by agreeing to censor certain groups and individuals, including journalists and activists.

LinkedIn will be replaced by InJobs will be a stripped-down jobs-only site without the social feeds or the ability to create and share articles.

LinkedIn claims it has more than 54 million users in China after it launched in the country in 2014.

Since then, it has struggled to meet the demands of an increasingly authoritarian Chinese government on the one hand, and fend off criticism from US lawmakers on the other.

“While we have found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunities, we have not found that same success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed,” senior vice president Mohak Shroff wrote in a statement. blog post.

“We are also facing a significantly more challenging work environment and increased compliance requirements in China.”

A series of events preceded LinkedIn’s withdrawal from China. In March, LinkedIn began restricting new signups to the site after insulting authorities for not previously censoring sensitive content. In September, LinkedIn prevented Chinese users from reading material published by several US journalists, academics and activists criticizing Beijing.

The American company, like others, has decided to limit its losses. It seems doubtful that InJobs will be able to compete with the local competition, but Microsoft will want to maintain a foothold in the huge Chinese market. Bing remains the only major foreign search engine in China, where it survives by censoring its results, for example by blocking searches to Tiananmen Square on the anniversary of the crackdown.

In 2010, Google publicly withdrew from China because it was unwilling to censor search results as demanded by the government. However, it was later revealed that it was working on a censored search engine Project Dragonfly, which it had to suspend after protests from employees.

While many Western tech companies continue to operate in Hong Kong, Facebook, Twitter and Google have recently threatened to stop offering their services in the administrative region if authorities go ahead with proposals that could hold tech companies liable for user-generated content.

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