Two months ago, LinkedIn announced it would shut down its social media operations in China because the government of the country hates the FREEDOM OF SPEECH like a plague.
Even though the American tech company won’t be exiting its largest-Asian market just yet, it’s now introducing a job-board platform, which is a trimmed-down version of LinkedIn – just without the social media functionalities such as the news feed.
The new platform is tailored for China and has strict requirements on content censorship and data protection.
The new platform is dubbed InCareer. It’s certainly the perfect version that the Chinese government has been clamoring for. The one that no one can hold an opinion – not against the government of course.
The app is “designed to help Chinese mainland professionals find jobs and companies discover great talent in China,” said Mohak Shroff, senior vice-president of engineering at LinkedIn.
Because of the ever-changing regulations by the Chinese government over what can be posted and what cannot be said, LinkedIn announced two months back that it would be shutting down its operations citing “greater compliance requirements”, as it struggled to comply with the country’s increasingly stringent data rules.
While LinkedIn can’t just get out of the Chinese market, the fact that it has a reach of millions of users meant it still needs those sweet Chinese Yuans to keep rolling in at the end of every month.
Also, InCareer borrows some features from the flagship platform, LinkedIn – those include the ability for users to log in with their LinkedIn account with which they can browse job vacancies, read notifications about new job opportunities and even adjust their personal settings.
But as for the opinion-based public feed where ideas fly around from diverse individuals, that’s gone forever in China. You’ll need to get out of the country before you can have your own opinion about a controversial subject matter.
Users can still message people in their network, but they can only add new contacts by entering the person’s mobile number or scanning their QR code, rather than searching by names or job titles.
The addendum also said that InCareer’s service is provided through US-based servers, which means personal data will be sent overseas using a “lawful cross-border transfer mechanism” if the user agrees.
The launch of InCareer “is just the beginning”, said Shroff. “Over the coming months, we will build on this foundation, with feedback from our members and customers, to develop a world-class experience.”
As of now, the application is ranked 26th among the topmost downloaded business apps from the App Store on Thursday compared to 41st on Tuesday. The analytics was provided by App-Annie.
Chinese users have expressed mixed feelings towards the new app.
Weibo user Xiaoji Happy Diary said he “expected” LinkedIn’s mainland-only service to focus solely on a job search. Others, however, lamented the exclusion of LinkedIn’s social networking features from InCareer.
Weibo user Zhengguozhiyu, who described InCareer as “castrated”, wrote, “Not only does the app not support article posting, it also lacks a search function that lets users browse other people’s background … The internet, as I had imagined, shouldn’t be like this in the 21st century.”
Another Weibo user questioned InCareer’s utility in the presence of Tencent Holdings’ ubiquitous multipurpose app WeChat. “If I can add contacts [on InCareer] only by searching with their mobile number or scanning their QR code … I can just add people on WeChat. What’s InCareer for then?”