LinkedIn already has around four million registered users from 80,000 companies on its English language website. But the professional social network hopes to attract the nearly 140 million professionals in China and at the same time strike a truce with Chinese sensors, as LinkedIn users are not likely to discuss politics or organize anti-government protests.
“Our mission is to connect the world’s professionals and create greater economic opportunity -- and this is a significant step towards achieving that goal,” Derek Shen, LinkedIn’s president of China, wrote in a blog post.
Other American social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, have had issues with Chinese censors and are blocked in China, whereas LinkedIn is the only one to have gotten around this problem. The new venture is in partnership with Sequoia China and CBC and will involve launching of new services and potential investments into local companies that can help LinkedIn.
While Chinese services like Sina Weibo, WeChat, and Baidu have sizable user bases, there is a vacuum in professional social networking in China and LinkedIn can fill in that gap.
LinkedIn at present has 277 million users and has seen growth in markets outside the U.S., especially in emerging markets like India and Brazil, where they have 24 million and 16 million respectively.
“Given the rapid acceleration and development of China’s economy, the expansion of our offering in China marks a significant step forward in our mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner wrote in a blog post.