World News / Asia

Social Media Giant LinkedIn Comes to China

FILE - LinkedIn's global headquarters in Mountain View, California.
FILE - LinkedIn's global headquarters in Mountain View, California.
The world’s largest professional social media website, LinkedIn, is expanding into China. The company says its Chinese language website went online on Tuesday.

Although its site is still considered a test version, the launch signifies the formal establishment of LinkedIn’s China division.

According to the company’s data, the website currently has around 4 million Chinese users who were already using the international English version. The company, with more than 250 million users worldwide, says it hopes to attract 140 million more in China alone.

LinkedIn admits it faces challenges in China, one of the hardest of which is that website content needs to be inspected by the government.

CEO Jeff Weiner acknowledged in a recent blog post that his company will have to censor some user generated content to comply with Chinese rules. But, he added, the restrictions will only be implemented when and to the extent required by the Chinese government.

Su Ji, engineer for Networking Software in Beijing, says dealing with government restrictions will be a learning process.

“There is a lot of skill here. If you want keep safe from government censorship, then you definitely need to interact with China and all the different factions of the Communist Party," said Su. "You need to master that skill. China has Internet controls, but there is some leeway.”

Content restrictions and censorship have helped block other foreign websites from growing in China. In 2010, the Internet search engine Google pulled out of mainland China because of a dispute partly fueled by content censorship.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.
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