Feeds

Is LinkedIn preparing for a China push?

Founder Reid Hoffman has been doing his homework

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Self-styled professional social networking site LinkedIn is planning to make a move in the Chinese market, if rumours are to be believed, as it seeks to further its plans for worldwide domination.

CNET China reported that founder Reid Hoffman met big name homegrown web firms Baidu, 360.cn, Sina and Renren last week to discuss the possibility of setting up a business operation in the country.

Although that was pretty much all the unnamed source had to say about the matter, it would be a logical move for the social-network-for-suits, which has over 150 million users and recently floated on the stock market valued at well over $4bn.

LinkedIn already has an Asia Pacific office, opened in Singapore last year, although China, with its strict censorship laws and idiosyncratic business practices, would certainly demand a separate outpost.

If it made a move in China, the firm would come up against local rivals in the form of fast-growing Tianji (which has over six million users) as well as Wealink.com, Renhe.cn and many other smaller players.

Ovum senior analyst Saurabh Sharma told The Reg that LinkedIn would face a tough battle in this crowded market full of players who have a better cultural understanding of the region.

"It is also important to understand that primarily LinkedIn will serve as an enabler to the networking of Chinese professionals and should have realistic expectations for growth potential in this market," he added.

"Success will be primarily determined by its ability to provide a tailor-made user experience that includes functionalities that are already being provided by its local competitors."

One thing that will work in LinkedIn’s favour is that, unlike Facebook, it is not banned in China, although it was blocked for a day or so last February during the time of the Arab Spring protests.

And it's unlikely to clash with the censors because it focusses strictly on business professionals sharing work-related information, whereas regular social networks like Facebook - whose users can swap random thoughts and opinions - quite frankly terrify the Chinese authorities.

China, with its growing middle class and estimated 500m+ web users, represents an attractive prospect for any growing business-to-consumer tech company, but as Google found out it can be a challenging environment to flourish in.

It wouldn’t be out of the question to see LinkedIn partner with a local specialist to establish itself in what can be a hostile market for foreign companies. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.