Microsoft is closing down its social network, LinkedIn, in China. In its stead, later this year, LinkedIn will introduce InJobs, a jobs-only version of the site. However, there will be no social feed or the opportunity to share or upload content.
According to LinkedIn senior vice president Mohak Shroff's blog, the decision to shut down the platform was made due to a difficult business climate and increased compliance requirements in China.
LinkedIn was the only major Western social-media site with a presence in China.
It's difficult to say if LinkedIn's decision was influenced by Chinese or US pressure. It might be both, since the Chinese government has tightened its grip on the internet, and LinkedIn has come under fire in the United States for complying with Beijing's censorship restrictions.
When LinkedIn first debuted in China in 2014, it agreed to abide by the Chinese government's regulations to operate there, but it also vowed to be honest about how it did business in the nation and stated that it disagreed with government censorship.
In a letter to LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, US Senator Rick Scott accused Microsoft of excessive accommodation and subordination to China.
Back in 2014, LinkedIn launched in China with the hopes of capitalizing on the country's massive market.
In its seven years in the Chinese market, it has been challenged by local competitors and encountered a slew of regulatory issues. LinkedIn was penalized by the Chinese regulator in March for failing to censor political content, resulting in a 30-day ban of new user registration. Aside from the censorship concerns, the site has been utilized as a recruiting tool by Chinese intelligence agents.
LinkedIn's decision to cease operation in China demonstrates how the country's tightly regulated internet has grown more apart from the rest of the world, making it increasingly difficult for global firms operating in China to cross the gap.