Microsoft Decides to Pull LinkedIn from China

Close up of a Monitor Screen with LinkedIn website landing page

Microsoft has announced it will discontinue its localized version of LinkedIn in China later this year. The software giant said the decision is due to the increasingly challenging operating environment and rising censorship in the country.

This move means that users in China will not have access to Linkedin’s global social media platform.

The company also announced its plans to launch a new service, called InJobs, that will focus on helping Chinese professionals and companies find jobs and applicants, respectively, within the country. However, the new platform will not contain many of the social features of its predecessor.

China’s New Regulatory Environment led to LinkedIn Decision

LinkedIn’s localized version allows its Chinese users to not only find jobs, but also access its global social media service.

In its blog post announcing the move, LinkedIn said that it knew operating in China would mean complying with the country’s internet regulations. The company added that while it found success in delivering jobs and opportunities to its users in China, it could not do the same for “the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed.”

LinkedIn said it now faces a more significant regulatory challenge in the country. Recently, the company came under fire for its decision to block the profiles of several journalists. The company was criticized for bowing down to the demands of the Chinese government.

These event have factored into its decision, as the announced replacement will solely focus on job applications. InJobs will not contain a social feed, and will not give users the ability to post or share articles or other content on the platform. This means that Chinese users will not have access to many of the services they may be accustomed to.

The company added that it will “continue to work with Chinese businesses to help them create economic opportunity.”

Tips on How to Access Global LinkedIn and Other Censored or Banned Content in China

LinkedIn finds itself on a long list of non-native platforms that are either banned or do not offer their services in China. This includes giants such as Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

China is infamous for its great firewall which blocks all content and services that its government chooses. The country uses a combination of technical tools such as filtering URLs, disrupting DNS servers, etc., as well as strict laws to ensure that its internet remains heavily restricted.

Thankfully, it is possible to get around the firewall using a VPN. However, this is not a clear-cut solution. The Chinese block many VPNs, and invest heavily in its cyber control measures. Therefore, it is recommended to install a VPN before entering the country. You can expect heavy censorship and monitoring.

For more information on how you can access restricted content in China, check out our detailed guide.

Technology policy researcher
Prateek is a technology policy researcher with a background in law. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy, digital currencies, and digital literacy. Outside of his research interests, Prateek is an avid reader and is engaged in projects on sustainable farming practices in India.