LinkedIn shuts down service in China, citing ‘challenging’ environment

SEATTLE – LinkedIn said Thursday it was shutting down its professional networking service in China later this year, citing “a significantly more challenging work environment and increased compliance requirements.”

The service, which is owned by Microsoft, said it would offer a new app focused solely on job openings in China. The new app will not include social networking features such as post sharing and commenting, which have been critical to LinkedIn’s success in the United States and elsewhere.

For a long time, LinkedIn was the only major American social network operating in China. Twitter and Facebook are blocked in the country.

But to do business in China, LinkedIn censored the posts of its millions of Chinese users in accordance with Chinese laws, something other US companies often hesitated or were unable to do.

In March, China’s internet regulator reprimanded LinkedIn for having no control over political content, said three people briefed on the matter at the time. Officials required LinkedIn to conduct a self-assessment and submit a report to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator. The service was also forced to suspend new user sign-ups in China for 30 days.

This is a story in development. Come back for updates.

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