LinkedIn launches new app in China without social feed after shutting main service

2021/12/16 Innoverview Read

LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned social media network for job-hunters and recruiters, has launched a new app specifically for mainland China after the company announced in October it would pull its global platform from the market.

Tailored for China, which has strict requirements on content censorship and data protection, “InCareer” has no social media feed.

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.

The company said it would pause its service in mainland China two months ago, citing “greater compliance requirements”, as it struggled to comply with the country’s increasingly stringent data rules. LinkedIn said at the time it would create a China-only service without the ability to share posts or articles.

This is the latest example showing how far US technology firms are willing to go to keep a foothold in the world’s most populous country.

Similar to LinkedIn’s flagship app, InCareer allows users, who can log in with their LinkedIn account, to browse vacancies, read notifications about new opportunities, and change their personal settings.

Unlike the global LinkedIn app, however, InCareer has no public social feed for users to share articles. 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 app, launched after the implementation of China’s sweeping Personal Information Protection Law took effect in November, asks users upon logging in to agree to a “China privacy policy addendum” that says the company “only collects and processes your sensitive personal information when you choose to opt-in and uses strict security measures when processing any sensitive personal information”.

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.”

InCareer is quickly gaining traction among the world’s largest internet population, ranking 29th among the most downloaded business iOS apps on Thursday, compared to 41st on Tuesday, according to app-store analytics provider 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 job search. Others, however, lamented the exclusion of LinkedIn’s social networking features from InCareer.

(Source: South China Morning Post LinkedIn launches new app in China without social feed after shutting main service | South China Morning Post (