Microsoft has announced that LinkedIn is shutting down in China. The social network for professionals will stop operating in the Asian giant after arguing that it faces a “challenging operating environment”. A situation aggravated by the hardening of the Chinese government against technology giants and that has finally ended with the closure of LinkedIn, the last major Western social network still operating in China.
LinkedIn began operating in China in 2014. At that time Twitter and Facebook had been blocked for several years, since 2009. In the case of Google, in 2010 they decided to leave the country and move their operations to Hong Kong. During all these years Microsoft has been adapting to the Chinese government’s measures, but finally they have taken the decision to reevaluate their strategy with LinkedIn.
Microsoft argues the closure as follows: “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.”
As explained by the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese government gave the platform a 30-day window to better update its content control. A measure that would have been the trigger for Microsoft to take this position.
Instead, Microsoft explains that it will launch an independent application called InJobs, to search for jobs. However, it will lack the social section and content sharing, precisely the aspect that remains under censorship by the Chinese government.
Last September, Satya Nadella explained some of the details of the failed acquisition of Chinese company TikTok, noting that it was “one of the strangest experiences of his life”.
Far from getting closer, Microsoft follows in the footsteps of Facebook, Twitter and Google and leaves China, recalling in its statement that “operating a China-focused version of LinkedIn means complying with Chinese government requirements” but Microsoft “strongly defends freedom of expression”.