Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn is shuttering a localized version of its professional networking platform in China, becoming the last major U.S. social media provider to pull out of the country.
LinkedIn said it made the decision in light of “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.” The company will close the current version later this year, LinkedIn said in a blog post Thursday.
After entering China in 2014, LinkedIn seemed to offer a model for American Internet companies to break into the country. In exchange for that privilege, the company agreed to restrict some content to adhere to state censorship rules. The service had about 52 million users on mainland China. Other social media platforms like Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. have long been banned.
Signs of turbulence for Microsoft emerged in March. LinkedIn said then that it had paused new member sign-ups for its China service while it worked to ensure it was in compliance with local law.
LinkedIn said its new strategy for China is to focus on helping local professionals find jobs in the nation and to help Chinese companies find quality candidates. Later this year, it will introduce InJobs, a new standalone jobs application for the country. The site won’t include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.
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