Gaining Ground or Losing Freedom

Published on Author andrew

LinkedIn launched a Chinese language version of their site on Tuesday. The website will be in simplified Chinese characters and aims to corner the market in the country. They seek to gain 140 million new members, about 50% of their current user base, and hope to spread their service across the country.

Many companies have had problems in the past dealing with the Chinese Government’s censorship of web content. Just last year, Google moved their servers from Mainland China to Hong Kong over concerns of hacking and censorship. They are also severely limited in their products that they can provide, YouTube is banned and Gmail is severely restricted.

Despite these aforementioned problems LinkedIn is moving foreword and in a statement said that they would happily comply with any demanded censorship. This launch comes in the wake of the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp, a hugely popular service in China. Only time will tell if the Middle Kingdom responds well to the introduction of these new western internet firms, but if trends have anything to say about it the country will.


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8 Responses to Gaining Ground or Losing Freedom

  1. I think what is most interesting about this article is that the site in question is LinkedIn. Unlike Facebook or Youtube, LinkedIn is primarily used as a social networking sites for professionals and firms. Though clearly LinkedIn will face some censorship issues, I think China’s government might encourage this kind of website to make it easier for the people moving to cities to find jobs. I am curious to see to what extent China will censor or encourage this site.

  2. Brian makes a good point. Also, I wonder if perhaps Facebook could learn anything from LinkedIn’s interactions with the Chinese government in order to improve their prospects in the massive potential market.

  3. Similarly to what Jed said, China’s billions offers an enormous potential market of avid internet users. Trendy applications have the potential to become hugely popular, given they are granted permission. I am interested to see whether there will be wide-spread efforts by companies to enter largely untapped Chinese market.

  4. This post is very similar to what moure talked about in his post about facebook: post. China has been slowly opening its market. This means it is time for foreign power, firms, and investors to enter Chinese market and do their jobs to stimulate the growth and benefit both of China and themselves. However, as we have been talking about, Chinese government wants to slow down. Will it be easy for foreigners to enter China? I am not sure…

  5. There is definitely a trend towards trying to enter the Chinese market. It is not a secret that the Chinese government is the biggest enemy for all the companies that desire to expand their sphere of influence to China. As Brian pointed out, LinkedIn offers a service that could potentially help employment and mobility within the country. Even though I believe LinkedIn wouldn’t be directly responsible for decreasing unemployment and helping the economy, the service does not impose a threat to the government.

  6. Think about this from a labor market perspective: Prof Dodge noted very high turnover of professionals in Chinese companies, 20% or more a year. In that context LinkedIn could add value in helping individuals grow their networks, whereas frequent job hopping might otherwise erode networks.

    • Yes, very high turnover rate that Prof. Dodge mentioned can definitely help foreign companies to expand in China. These workers, knowing how to deal with China’s network market, will certainly help growing foreign companies rapidly.