Microsoft said it is shutting down its LinkedIn service in China later this year after internet rules were tightened by Beijing, making it the latest American tech giant to lessen its ties to the country.
The company said in a blog post Thursday that it has faced a “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.” Earlier this year, China’s internet regulator informed LinkedIn that it needed to better regulate its content and gave the service 30 days to make changes, the Wall Street Journal reported.
LinkedIn will replace its localized platform in China with a new app called InJobs that has some of LinkedIn’s career-networking features but “will not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.”
“While we’ve found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunity, we have not found that same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed,” LinkedIn said in the blog post.
Other tech giants that have cut back business in China include Google, which pulled back from mainland China in 2010; and Twitter, which is officially blocked in the nation.
LinkedIn in March said it would pause new member sign-ups on LinkedIn China because of unspecified regulatory issues. China’s internet watchdog in May said it had found that LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft’s Bing search engine and about 100 other apps, was engaged in improper collection and use of data, and ordered them to fix the problem.
Several scholars this year also reported getting warning letters from LinkedIn that they were sharing “prohibited content” that would not be made viewable in China but could be seen by LinkedIn users elsewhere.
In 2014, LinkedIn launched a site in simplified Chinese, the written characters used on the mainland, to expand its reach in the country. It said at the time that its expansion in China raised “difficult questions,” requiring LinkedIn to censor content, but the company promised it would be clear about how it conducts business in China and undertake “extensive measures” to protect members’ rights and data.
Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016.
Google pulled its search engine out of mainland China in 2010 after the government began censoring search results and videos on YouTube.