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File image of the entrance to LinkedIn's European HQ in Dublin. Alamy Stock Photo
tech layoffs

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn to cut over 700 jobs and close China app

LinkedIn was one of the few US technology companies to successfully operate a social media site in China, where the internet is heavily regulated.

LAST UPDATE | 9 May 2023

SOCIAL NETWORKING FIRM LinkedIn today announced that it will close down its last service available in China, citing “fierce competition and a challenging macroeconomic climate”.

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has 20,000 employees globally, around 2,000 of whom are employed from the its European headquarters in Dublin.

Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for around €24 billion in 2016, but Microsoft itself has also announced significant job losses in recent months.

In January, Microsoft announce that it would lay off around 10,000 staff globally, which impacted 120 employees at Microsoft Ireland.

In a statement to The Journal, a LinkedIn spokesperson said: “We are working closely with impacted employees to ensure they are treated with respect and have our full support during these transitions.”

LinkedIn were unable to provide detail on how this could impact staff in Ireland.

Chinese platform

LinkedIn was one of the few US technology companies to successfully operate a social media site in China, where the internet is heavily regulated and censored.

The company had introduced a unique domestic version of the career networking platform operated locally in order to comply.

In 2021, new sign-ups for the LinkedIn app in mainland China were suspended by the firm, which referenced a “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China”.

Microsoft then replaced it with a simplified version called InCareer, which allowed local professionals to continue to find and apply for jobs as well as stay connected with their network.

“After careful consideration, we’ve made the decision to discontinue InCareer effective August 9, 2023,” the platform said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Despite our initial progress, InCareer faced fierce competition and a challenging macroeconomic climate, which ultimately led us to the decision of discontinuing the service” in China, LinkedIn said.

While the InCareer app is due to close, LinkedIn has said it will “continue to have a presence in China”.

LinkedIn added that its focus will now be on assisting companies operating in China to “access economic opportunity through our Talent and Marketing solutions”.

An email from CEO Ryan Roslansky published online added that pulling out of China would result in “a reduction of roles for 716 employees”.

The US firm once achieved a rapid rise in the country, benefiting from a culture of connections, or “guanxi”, in which one’s contacts and professional network are essential assets.

However, LinkedIn has been marginalised in recent years as innovative local apps have surged in popularity.

Most US internet giants — including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube – have long been blocked in China as they fail to comply with strict and often murky regulations.

Tech firms operating in the country are pressured to block unwanted content and topics considered politically sensitive in the name of social stability.

LinkedIn has come under fire in recent years for removing the accounts of dissidents and erasing content on sensitive issues.

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