Microsoft says it will shut down LinkedIn in China, citing a “challenging operating environment” as Beijing tightens control over technology companies.
The US-based company will replace the career-oriented social network in China with an app dedicated to applying for jobs but without the network features, according to Senior Vice President of Engineering Mohak Shroff.
“We are … facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and higher compliance requirements in China,” he said in a blog post Thursday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese internet regulators gave LinkedIn a deadline to better monitor the site’s content.
LinkedIn, which launched in China in 2014, allows people to use personal and professional relationships to find work.
Chinese authorities have been targeting a range of domestic tech giants for alleged monopolistic practices and aggressive collection of consumer data.
The push is part of a broader government policy to strengthen its grip on the world’s number two economy, which includes private education, property and casinos.
Shroff said Microsoft would end the Chinese version of LinkedIn and launch an InJobs app dedicated to professionals connected in that country with companies looking for employees.
LinkedIn said the new service would not include a social channel or the ability to share posts or articles.
Microsoft bought LinkedIn for just over $ 26 billion in 2016 and has worked to build a presence in China despite concerns about online censorship.
Facebook and Twitter have been banned in China for more than a decade.
Google left the country in 2010 in response to a hacking and censorship attack.
The e-commerce giant Amazon’s website is accessible in China, but the market there is dominated by local players like Alibaba and JD.com.