LinkedIn Launches a Chinese Language Site: Will Censorship Apply?

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Monday, February 24, saw LinkedIn take a step forward as part of its expansion initiatives in China. The professional networking giant that already boasts over four million users in China, launched the Chinese version of its social website in an attempt to woo more professionals from the largest Internet market of the world.

LinkedIn looks to reach out to 140 million new users in China

China has been at the focus of the California based network’s expansion plans for quite some time now. Earlier, LinkedIn had blogged about its hopes of being able to connect with more than 140 million Chinese professionals who were not using its English site. Venture-capital houses China Broadband Capital and the Sequoia China Capital partnered with the company and bought ownership stake for $5 million cash. However, LinkedIn’s new ambitious venture may not be as easily undertaken as the company would like.

The censorship issue in China

One complication would be when the Chinese government asks the professional website to pull down some content from consumer’s pages. Censorship by the Chinese government is likely, however, it is against LinkedIn’s core values. CEO Jeff Weiner says he has contemplated enough and though he is against censorship, he and his company would have to put up with it, while still trying to abide by the company’s culture and values.

Monday afternoon, CEO Weiner listed the “core values” that his company would use in dealing with the government’s censorship requirements on his blog post. These include:

  • Being completely transparent about how LinkedIn operates in China and using several avenues to notify members about the same.
  • Implementing restrictions on content only to an extent and when necessary.
  • Protecting the data and rights of its consumers using extensive measures.

The addition of the Chinese language version increases LinkedIn’s language portfolio to 22 different languages. You can go to the “Privacy and Settings” section of your profile, click on “Account” tab and then switch to a language of your choice by using the “Select your language” option. Relevant language options to Malaysia include Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese (Simplified), and, obviously, English.


Photo credit: [email protected] / Foter / CC BY-SA

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