Microsoft has decided to pull its professional social network, LinkedIn, out of China.
It is the latest effect of a journey that began in 2006 with the implementation of Great Firewall: a system capable of blocking words, images and web domains.
In fact, the Microsoft-owned service was the last major U.S. social network operating in China; Facebook and Twitter have been blocked since 2009, Google since 2012, Instagram since 2014, and since 2020, so have Signal and Clubhouse (connection is only possible with a valid VPN that bypasses censorship). Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, is currently still present but accessible behind the “Great Firewall” content filter.
LinkedIn has indicated that the withdrawal will not be total but will remain a job board service with no social functionality.
It seems to me to be a way of saving face and I don’t think it will be of any use whatsoever.
I personally regret this because a shared social was a convenient way to stay in touch with Chinese partners and professional contacts.
The best alternative for those with on-site projects involving the need for a professional network is Maimai.
Maimai, founded in 2013 on the LinkedIn model, now has 80 million users in total and more than 8 million monthly active users (what fueled its success-which was already greater than LinkedIn-are a number of features for users, including the ability to post anonymously in forums as “employee of…”).
The corporate structure in China is complicated, and Maimai can be effective in helping you locate the right people, the decision makers, in the companies you are interested in.