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HomeBusinessMicrosoft to shut down LinkedIn in China, cites 'challenging' environment

Microsoft to shut down LinkedIn in China, cites ‘challenging’ environment

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Microsoft Corp is shutting down LinkedIn in China nearly seven years after its launch, marking the setback of the last major US-owned social network in China as authorities further tighten their grip on the internet sector.

LinkedIn said in a blog post Thursday that it would replace the platform later this year with a simplified version that would focus only on jobs, called “InJobs,” which would not include a social feed or sharing options.

“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,” LinkedIn said.

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

LinkedIn’s movements in China have been closely watched as a model for how a Western social media app could operate within the country’s strictly regulated internet, where many other platforms like Alphabet Inc.’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are banned.

The platform expanded into China in 2014, recognizing at the time that the company would have to censor some of the content that users posted on its website to comply with Chinese rules.

It has been one of the companies affected in the last year by a broad crackdown by Beijing, which has imposed new restrictions on its Internet companies in areas ranging from content to customer privacy. The Chinese government has also said it wants platforms to more actively promote core socialist values.

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In March, LinkedIn paused new registrations in China and said it was working to comply with Chinese laws. Two months later, it was one of 105 apps that was accused by China’s top internet regulator of illegally collecting and using personal information and ordered to make corrections.

The news website Axios reported last month that LinkedIn had blocked from its Chinese platform the profiles of several American journalists and academics containing information that China considers sensitive, citing “prohibited content.”

Microsoft also owns Bing, the only major foreign search engine accessible from the so-called Great Firewall of China, whose search results on sensitive topics are censored. (Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru, Elizabeth Culliford in London, and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Edited by Anil D’Silva and Stephen Coates)

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