LinkedIn announces new app to avoid China scrutiny
LinkedIn is finding ways to stay in China despite increased censorship pressure from the country's government to limit social posts and news sharing.
Why it matters: LinkedIn's new toehold solution protects its main brand while operating under similar amounts of local scrutiny.
- If successful, InJobs could set a precedent for newer social platforms looking to do business in China (without the kind of political baggage that Twitter and Facebook have), says Axios China reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian.
Catch up quick: The company announced Thursday that its new jobs posting app, InJobs, would launch later this year to replace its local LinkedIn service amid "greater compliance requirements" in the country.
- The decision comes two weeks after Axios first reported on LinkedIn’s censorship of several journalists, including Allen-Ebrahimian.
Backdrop: For the past seven years, LinkedIn has abided by censorship rules and allowed its platform to be owned by Chinese nationals — a model Beijing once touted as one that other internet businesses could follow if they wanted the same kind of market access.
- It’s unclear if InJobs will operate the same way. But because the new app will be stripped of social features (feeds, sharing, posts), it will likely face fewer content restrictions.
- Yes, but: Similar criticisms over censorship will also likely remain.
What they’re saying: "[W]e will continue to have a strong presence in China to drive our new strategy," a LinkedIn spokesperson tells Axios.
The intrigue: Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, makes less than 2% of its revenue from its business in China, and LinkedIn has intense competition with other job apps in the country.
- "China represents a large market with a lot of revenue potential, if only Microsoft can find a better means of capturing that revenue," Sara Hsu, visiting scholar at Fudan University, tells Axios.