17 Oct 2021
Microsoft’s LinkedIn To Leave China As Regulatory Landscape Changes
The Index Today
With increasing regulatory scrutiny in China, Microsoft Corp’s Linked platform will no longer be operational in the region. However, the tech giant’s other search engines including Bing Windows will remain in the market.
The decision to shut down LinkedIn came after compliance requirements and regulatory issues made the operating environment more challenging. Paul Triolo, head of global technology policy practice at Eurasia Group said, “What’s the upside?? If you went into China hoping to see some liberalization around censorship 10 years ago, you were willing to be patient and establish a foothold. That calculus seems to not be getting better in the near term.”
The decision to pull back LinkedIn out of the region came after president of Microsoft Brad Smith and Head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Xiao Yaqing met to discuss expansion possibilities. Local officials hope to see Microsoft investment being boosted in the region but within defined compliance frameworks.
Microsoft first opened its office in China back in 1992 and has invested greatly to build a strong presence. However, the country only contributes around 2% to the total revenue for the tech giant. There are around 50 million LinkedIn users in China, ranking at third position after India and the U.S. China has recently begin tightening its scrutiny on the tech industry, making it difficult for companies like LinkedIn to function as they contained content which was prohibited in China.
Mohak Shroff, senior vice president of engineering at LinkedIn said, “While we strongly support your freedom of expression, we took this approach in order to create value for our members in China and around the world.”