Seattle. LinkedIn said Thursday that it will close its professional networking service in China at the end of this year, citing “a significantly more complex operating environment and stricter regulatory requirements.”
The service, owned by Microsoft, said it will offer a new app that focuses exclusively on job postings in China. The new app will remove social media features such as messaging and commenting, which have been critical to LinkedIn’s success in the US and elsewhere.
LinkedIn has long been the only major American social network operating in China. Twitter and Facebook are blocked in the country.
But in order to do business in China, LinkedIn censored messages from millions of Chinese users under Chinese law, which other American companies were often reluctant or unable to do.
In March, China’s regulator rebuked LinkedIn for failing to control political content, three people who briefed the matter said at the time. Officials have demanded that LinkedIn conduct a self-assessment and submit a report to the China Cyberspace Authority, which regulates the country’s internet regulation. The service was also forced to suspend registration of new users within China for 30 days.
This is an evolving story. Keep for updates.