LinkedIn shuts down service in China, lays off employees

LinkedIn has suspended its job application service in China, the last remaining vestige of what was once one of the country’s few successful foreign digital platforms.

On Monday, the Microsoft-owned social media company announced that it will suspend its InCareer job application service starting August 9. the company wrote on Monday.

The company notified separately in a letter from LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky that it will lay off 716 employees. Cutting work fall hard of LinkedIn’s China operations. The company will discontinue its products and engineering teams in the country, and reduce its sales and marketing departments. The rest of LinkedIn’s China business will focus on helping companies in the country access its talent and learning programs.

China is currently going through an employment slowdown, with Chinese companies hiring fewer people as the economy continues to recover from tough COVID controls put in place across the country. pandemic. Tech companies in particular, once a big employer of Chinese college graduates, have slowed hiring after pressure from the country’s boom in the sector through 2021 and 2022.

In the third quarter of 2022, the demand for new college graduates in Chinese companies fell by 12.2% year-on-year, according to a report from the work platform Boss Zhaopin. In March, China’s statistics bureau reported that 19.6% of the Chinese aged between 16 and 24 unemployed.

LinkedIn in China

LinkedIn used to be one of the some foreign social media platforms allowed to operate in China and directly connect Chinese and non-Chinese users.

In 2014, LinkedIn agreed to offer a local version of the platform that complies with Chinese content rules.

“The loss of LinkedIn in China will deny Chinese professionals a way to connect with others on our global platform, thereby limiting the ability of individual Chinese citizens to pursue and realize economic opportunities, dreams and rights that matter most to them,” LinkedIn’s then-CEO Jeff Weiner wrote at that time.

Social media peers on LinkedIn, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are all blocked in China. TikTok is also not available in China, where developer ByteDance instead offers “Douyin,” a short video app for the Chinese market that follows Beijing’s content rules.

Even in October 2021, LinkedIn Office has partnered that it will stop its popular content publishing and social networking functions in favor of a stripped-down application that focuses only on work applications. The company cited “an increasingly challenging operating environment and increased compliance requirements” for its decision.

LinkedIn’s decision is part of a steady retreat from Western technology companies, which have Yahoo, Amazon’s Kindleand Airbnb all announced the termination of their businesses in China.

The focus on job applications seems to have backfired for LinkedIn. The job search and application app faces stiff competition from local competitors in China.

InCareer had less than one million monthly active users at the end of March, according to South China Morning Post citing data from research firm Analysys, well below the 18 million users who used competitor 51Job.

LinkedIn’s stripped-down app also won’t completely avoid scrutiny from Chinese censors. The regulators used to be IS reported concerned that foreigners may still communicate directly with Chinese employees through the service.

“This is a problem because the authorities cannot track the conversations,” an unnamed Chinese regulatory official told the Financial Times.

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