Microsoft, the software
major, announced on Thursday that it will shut down the local version of
LinkedIn it runs in China. LinkedIn is the last major United States-operated social
media network operating in China. The decision to shut down LinkedIn in China,
according to Microsoft, is due to the countries stringent control on social
media websites.

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Announcing its decision,
Microsoft said it would shut down LinkedIn due to a “significantly more
challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China”.
Further, Microsoft said that it will launch a job search site in China that
does not have the social media features available on LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn was
launched in China in 2014 with limited features designed to adhere to the
stringent internet laws of the country. It’s decision to stop operating LinkedIn
in March comes after a Chinese internet regulator gave LinkedIn a deadline to
moderate its content.

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Only last month,
China’s version of LinkedIn blocked several US journalists in China, citing “prohibited
content” in their profiles. Profiles of academics, researchers were also
blocked on the platform in recent months, according to a CNBC report.

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The new platform
that Microsoft is coming up with in China is called InJobs. The platform will
not include a social media feed and users will not be able to share posts or

According to data
on Statista, a German database company, China is Microsoft’s third-largest
market. LinkedIn contributes about $10 billion to Microsoft’s annual revenue,
according to CEO Satya Nadella.  

LinkedIn, an
online employment and business-related social media platform, was launched in
2003 by Reid Hoffman. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion. China
has been taking an extremely strict view of social media platforms recently. While
several US-based social services are already outlawed in China, the few
remaining are also facing stringent action.

Not just social
media, China has also clamped down significantly on gaming platforms as well,
making it mandatory for platforms to have a maximum screen-time limit for