Microsoft announced this morning that it’s shutting down the localized version of LinkedIn for China that has been available there since 2014. The move comes after increasing claims from academics and reporters that they’ve received notifications stating their profiles on the service are blocked in China, as reported recently by The Wall Street Journal.
Last year when the Trump administration tried to arrange the acquisition of TikTok by Microsoft (CEO Satya Nadella called it the “strangest thing I’ve ever worked on”), the company’s “immense soft power” in the country was part of making that possible. Outside of GitHub and Amazon’s review system, LinkedIn was the only other foreign-owned platform allowed to host user-generated content in China.
Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in China since 2009, while Google moved its search operations from mainland China to Hong Kong in 2010. Meanwhile, Microsoft has sanitized Chinese language search results on Bing and offered a customized version of Windows 10. However, as China’s government has broadened a crackdown on tech giants in a manner affecting gaming, ride-sharing, cryptocurrency, and more, its requests apparently crossed Microsoft’s self-identified threshold to reevaluate its LinkedIn operations. Apple continues to operate in the country unconstrained.