Microsoft has announced that it will shut down LinkedIn in China, citing a “difficult operating environment” as Beijing tightens control over technology companies.
The US-based company will replace the career-focused social network in China with an app dedicated to applying for jobs but without the networking features, according to senior vice president of engineering Mohak Shroff.
“We are (…) facing a much more difficult operating environment and more stringent compliance requirements in China,” he said in a blog post on Thursday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn has been given a deadline by Chinese internet regulators to better monitor the site’s content.
LinkedIn, which was launched in China in 2014, allows people to use their personal and professional connections to find employment.
Chinese authorities are targeting a range of domestic tech behemoths for alleged monopoly practices and aggressive collection of consumer data.
The campaign is part of a broader government policy to tighten its grip on the world’s second-largest economy, including targeting private education, real estate and casinos.
Shroff said Microsoft would “roll back” the Chinese version of LinkedIn and launch an InJobs app dedicated to connected professionals in that country with companies looking for employees.
LinkedIn said the new service will not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.
Microsoft bought LinkedIn for just over $ 26 billion in 2016 and worked to establish a presence in China despite concerns about online censorship.
Facebook and Twitter have been banned in China for over a decade.
Google left the country in 2010 in response to a hacking attack and censorship.
E-commerce giant Amazon’s website is accessible in China, but the market there is dominated by local players like Alibaba and JD.com.