LinkedIn to exit China, who can win the market?

Oct 19, 2021 Social Network

 

On Oct. 14, some media report said that Microsoft will shut down its social network, LinkedIn in China and replace it with Injobs, a software specializes in job hunting and that site doesn't plan to design LinkedIn's social and sharing features.

Later, LinkedIn used its official Weibo account to dispel the rumors: the news is not true, LinkedIn will adjust its current strategy to focus on providing the value of "connecting career opportunities" and has plans to release new products and services within the year.

Under this post, some netizens expressed pity and regret, while others thought it was not surprising. The lamenters compared LinkedIn with Maimai (the largest real-name workplace social platform in China): "Compared to Maimai, LinkedIn is definitely a formal and transparent professional social platform." While supporters conveyed other perspective, "As long as you abide by Chinese laws, you can still operate in China. But if you want to do that in a Western way, it can not work for a long time."

It is inevitable that LinkedIn will give up its position in the Chinese market, and this may be an opportunity for other companies in the track. But who can make up the place is something we should discuss in the future.

 

There are signs of problems

The voice about "some of LinkedIn's actions not complying with Chinese law" is not just a rumor. According to Guancha.cn, Mohak Shroff, senior vice president and head of engineering at LinkedIn, blogged on his LinkedIn account on Oct. 14, stating that LinkedIn was determined to sunset the current localized version of LinkedIn in China due to "facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China."

This is not the first time LinkedIn has been clamped down by "compliance". On March 9, 2021, LinkedIn said it was suspending registration of new users in China in order to "ensure that the content and services provided by the platform comply with local laws and regulations".

Experts speculate that this is inseparable from the increasing attention tied with information security issues in China, which shows that the requirements for data security under the U.S. standards and domestic regulations obviously have a conflict.That is also the reason why Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other technology giants can not enter the Chinese market.

 

Why LinkedIn still has supporters despite facing frequent security concerns

On June 22, a researcher discovered that hackers are selling a large amount of user data on a dark web platform, and the seller said the complete database contains more than 700 million pieces of personal information from LinkedIn. According to the official data released by LinkedIn, the total number of LinkedIn members worldwide is about 774 million, which means nearly 90.5% of LinkedIn users have suffered from information leakage.

In the sample data given by the hacker, it contains complete information such as user's full name, LinkedIn username, cell phone number, salary data, etc. After the researchers compared the information, they basically confirmed that the information is accurate and related to the real users.

After knowing about this matter, the official reply from LinkedIn said that not all the data was obtained through LinkedIn, and some of it came from other sources, such as data aggregation from many websites and companies. It seems that the truth of the matter has become a confusion, but in any case, users whose privacy is forced to be leaked can easily be put in a crisis, forcing them to receive spam emails or phone calls, or in serious cases, their identity may be impersonated.

Despite in this situation, LinkedIn still has many followers in China, with some headhunters even saying directly on social media sites, "There is no substitute for a high level talent service provider."

This may be related to LinkedIn or Microsoft's perspective of putting user experience first.

In August this year, LinkedIn published a post on its engineering blog describing the details of the work. In order to balance the user experience and bring more equal connections to users instead of a few "premium users" taking up most of the resources, the engineers used functions to calculate the decay factor, A/B tests to evaluate the AI model, and reordered friend recommendations based on equal opportunity and equal probability to modify the system's algorithm, according to the LinkedIn engineering team.”

The article reads, "With the addition of the decay mechanism, LinkedIn expects the user experience to improve as we avoid the problem of users receiving too many invitations. But on the other hand, we also estimate a slight decrease in user engagement as fewer invitations will be sent accordingly. However, we are still willing to move forward with this change in order to get a better user experience."

 

To find the market and grasp the opportunity

However, in terms of business structure, LinkedIn's social attribute is more prominent than recruitment. According to the research report "2021 China Network Recruitment Industry Market Development Research Report" by Iresearch.cn.LinkedIn is not even ranked in the top five in China's network recruitment APP track.

This conclusion was confirmed by LinkedIn users. Many job seekers said: "What is missing in China is not a job platform, but a social platform for workplace". Although Maimai in China can compete with LinkedIn in terms of market penetration and user base, but the voice complaining Maimai of being "hostile", "limiting" and "unreliable" has also been.

From this perspective, LinkedIn exactly focuses on the elite and high-ranking people, which focus on overseas business, use LinkedIn to find customers to expand markets, and keep in touch with their foreign contacts on LinkedIn.

After LinkedIn exited China, this market will be blank. When the window comes, who can provide alternative services and become the new winner?

This is an article from WeChat official accounts BT Finance (ID: btcjv1), written by You Li.