linkedin shuts china business

LinkedIn is shutting down InCareer – the job application site that it launched in China in 2021 – citing “fierce competition and a challenging macroeconomic climate.”

The move would lead to 716 layoffs even as LinkedIn said that it intends to hire 250 people for other roles.

On its official WeChat account, LinkedIn said, “Although we have made initial progress in the past year, InCareer has faced increasingly fierce competition and macroeconomic challenges.”

Notably, InCareer faced tough competition from companies like Boss Zhipin and Maimai in China. Maimai, which was formed in 2013, is known as the “LinkedIn of China” and has over 120 million users.

In his post, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslanky pointed to “shifts in customer behavior and slower revenue growth” while stressing – “In an evolving market, we must continuously have the conviction to adapt our strategy in order to make our vision a reality.”

Notably, like most fellow tech peers, LinkedIn parent Microsoft has also laid off thousands of employees in 2023.

The company however continues to grow its AI business – and has committed billions of dollars to OpenAI.

As for InCareer, LinkedIn launched the app in China a couple of months after it shut the main site in the country which it attributed to “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements.”

That year, China cracked down on the tech sector and also forced Didi to delist from the US markets over data safety concerns.

LinkedIn Shuts Down InCareer App in China

InCareer was a toned-down version of LinkedIn’s main app and users could not share posts – but only use it for job search. It did have a limited messaging service where prospective employees and employers could interact.

The feature meanwhile could have worked to the nemesis of LinkedIn as China has strict internet firewalls while the chat feature enabled foreigners to communicate with employees in China.

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

Notably, the operating environment for US companies doing business in China has worsened under the leadership of Xi Jinping.

The tech/trade war between the world’s two biggest economies is not helping matters – often leading to tit-for-tat retaliatory actions.

US-China Rivalry Has Intensified

Yesterday only, China raided the offices of international consultancy firm Capvision.

The country’s state-owned broadcaster CCTV said, “According to the findings…Capvision accepted a large number of consulting projects from overseas companies on industries sensitive to China, and some of these firms had close ties with foreign governments, military and intelligence agencies.”

Coming back to LinkedIn, the company would still maintain a small presence in China.

In his LinkedIn post, Roslanky said, “We’ll focus our China strategy on assisting companies operating in China to hire, market, and train abroad. This will involve maintaining our Talent, Marketing, and Learning businesses, while phasing out InCareer, our local jobs app in China, by August 9, 2023.”

That said, amid the changed macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions, several US companies are reconsidering their China operations.

For instance, amid falling sales, Ford CEO Jim Farley said that the company needs to rethink its brand in China as the “market has totally changed.”

It is not all gloom though; several US companies, especially Tesla, continue to expand in China.

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