Microsoft's long-term efforts to consolidate its position in China
Microsoft's long-term efforts to consolidate its position in China

When Microsoft's LinkedIn site started asking Chinese users for phone numbers in 2019, it became clear that this professional social network in China had to follow different rules.

However, the network realized that it was not enough to put in place the real name verification system required by the Chinese authorities. It faces the growing task of compensating for the need for censorship and upholding its Western values ​​that adorn freedom of expression.

The solution is to withdraw. Microsoft announced in October last year that it would end the Chinese version of LinkedIn and additional requirements for verifying phone numbers.

On December 13, the company launched a LinkedIn alternative called InCareer on the App Store in China and third-party Android stores.

The new app focuses on functionality through the LinkedIn interface. However, there is a lack of social sourcing and content publishing options, so the content needs to be monitored by the Microsoft team in China.

InCareer will continue to use the messaging functionality. In a blog post, LinkedIn explained their decision: While we've been successful in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunities, we haven't had the same level of success by engaging and maintaining a business. In China, too, we are facing a more challenging operating environment and stricter compliance requirements.

It should be noted that Microsoft is not the only foreign tech giant to withdraw its services from China.

In recent years, China has introduced a number of new electronic regulations to control everything from the amount of data Internet companies can collect to cross-border data transmission.

Yahoo recently left China due to a difficult business environment and growing legal issues.

Chinese users using LinkedIn must now download InCareer. Although they can still access the full version of the social network through a web browser and VPN.

However, these measures are being taken to keep users away from the platform, which has limited access rights in the country.

Microsoft Bing has had problems lately

LinkedIn is more popular with foreigners and Chinese users who work for multinational companies or cross-border companies. And its domestic competitor Mai Mai is more popular.

In April, May accounted for 91% of the time Chinese users spent on business social media apps.

Microsoft's other remaining service in China, Bing, has had problems recently. The search engine was not available in China on December 18th. But on December 20, he appeared to be back in the country.

The incident also coincided with the suspension of Bing's full automatic search feature in China for 30 days under the laws of the People's Republic of China. It is not clear what the law refers to on this site.

In 2019, when Baidu's reputation on search engines began to suffer, Bing briefly stayed in China. At the time, it was widely believed that a large number of Baidu users switching to Bing could cause the website to crash.

It is common for foreign tech companies to play a role in bypassing Chinese law after years of fighting alone.

Many years after relevant regulations came into effect, Apple has cracked down on unlicensed mobile games on the App Store in China.

A Bing suspension could be a similar case where a search engine has been directed to turn off autofill suggestions that might affect scanning.

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