Microsoft announced Thursday it will shut down its local version of LinkedIn in China as the country continues to expand its censorship of the internet.
LinkedIn was the last major U.S. social network still operating in China, which has some of the strictest censorship rules. Social media platforms and websites like Twitter and Facebook have been blocked for more than a decade in the country, while Google decided to shutter operations in 2010.
Microsoft said it would shut down LinkedIn due to a “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.” Instead, Microsoft will launch a job search site in China that doesn’t have LinkedIn’s social media features.
The news comes after a Chinese internet regulator told LinkedIn in March to better moderate its content and gave it a 30-day deadline, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Last month, LinkedIn blocked several U.S. journalists in China, citing “prohibited content” in their profiles. The profiles of academics and researchers have also been reportedly blocked on the platform in China in recent months.
LinkedIn launched in China in 2014 with limited features designed to adhere to stricter internet laws in the country. The new site, called InJobs, will not include a social feed or allow users to share posts or articles.
Data from research firm Statista suggests that China is LinkedIn’s third-largest market. In July, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said LinkedIn contributes about $10 billion in annual revenue. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion.
Article by Samantha Subin with CNBC