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LinkedIn to end service in China, citing “difficult” environment

SEATTLE – LinkedIn announced Thursday that it is shutting down its professional networking service in China later this year, citing “a much harsher operating environment and stricter compliance requirements.”

The service, which is owned by Microsoft, said it will offer a new app focused solely on job postings in China. The new app will not have social networking features like sharing posts and comments, which have been critical to LinkedIn’s success in the United States and elsewhere.

LinkedIn has long been the only major American social network to operate in China. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in the country.

But in order to do business in China, LinkedIn censored the posts of its millions of Chinese users under Chinese laws, something other U.S. companies were often reluctant or unable to do.

In March, China’s internet regulator criticized LinkedIn for not controlling political content, three people briefed on the matter said at the time. Officials have asked LinkedIn to conduct a self-assessment and report to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator. The service was also forced to suspend new user registrations in China for 30 days.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.