After taking a social media drubbing in the West for accepting self-censorship in China, jobs networking site LinkedIn faces bigger obstacles to growth in a market it is counting on — local rivals and a unique workforce mindset.
LinkedIn is intent on making the kind of breakthrough in China that eluded internet giants like Google, Yahoo and Amazon.com. To do that, beyond coping with censorship, it must match big domestic players, already tuned into a generation of self-styled internet “losers” with their own, irreverent take on corporate culture.
“The LinkedIn mission is to connect all the world’s professionals, and the country with the most professionals in the world is China,” Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of the firm based in Mountain View, California, said at a Shanghai presentation last month. Established local peers like Dajie, Wealink and Tianji — with over 60 million members between them — stand in the way.