LinkedIn announced it would shut down its service in mainland China. This globally leading professional networking platform entered China in 2014 and operated as one of China’s few popular western social sites for seven years. However, the absence of the workplace networking giant left lucrative room for alternatives to LinkedIn in China.
Nonetheless, LinkedIn’s departure also gives an important lesson for China’s alternative professional networking platforms — its successful business model appears incompatible with Education Consultants in Islamabad. Thus, while filling the void left by LinkedIn, its alternatives are also trying to find their niche and adapt to an increasingly sensitive environment.
Why did LinkedIn stop its service in Mainland China?
As the most popular and influential professional networking site globally, LinkedIn covers many functions: networking, recruitment, and content sharing. Aside from its poor private performance, the main reason for LinkedIn’s departure from China stems from the country’s tightening cultural regulatory and censorship regime. As the lone American SNS operating in China, LinkedIn was censored in March 2021 for failing to control unfavorable content on its site, forcing it to suspend new users’ registration for a month.
Nonetheless, LinkedIn’s departure also gives an important lesson for China’s alternative professional networking platforms — its successful business model appears to be incompatible in China. Thus, while filling the void left by LinkedIn, its alternatives are also trying to find their niche and adapt to an increasingly sensitive environment.
Tight restrictions from the Government:
Later, since the US IPO of Internet giant Didi resulted in a huge amount of user information leaking to the U.S. government in June 2021, the Chinese government decided to tighten its oversight of Internet companies. Therefore, LinkedIn’s content-sharing function is under great pressure and no longer compatible with China’s increasingly regulated cultural atmosphere.
In addition, the research report points to the growing attention toward professional networking among white-collar workers in China. Ninety-three percent of those surveyed valued social networking at work, with 43% seeing it as “extremely important.” It reveals potential needs for better professional networking platforms waiting to be explored by LinkedIn’s replacements like MaiMai.
Focusing on Guanxi:
However, after the withdrawal of LinkedIn, the development of MaiMai won’t necessarily be smooth sailing. The common factor is holding back LinkedIn and MaiMai roots in traditional networking habits in China. People tend to build social networks through relatives or friends in their lives, which is known as Guanxi.
Even as MaiMai now has a large user base, research shows that many people do not communicate after adding friends on this platform. Recruiters in China also rarely view LinkedIn, MaiMai, or similar professional networking sites as the most important recruitment platform. MaiMai and other alternatives to LinkedIn must continue to contemplate how to change China’s deeply ingrained “Guanxi” recruitment habits to stand out as a workplace networking platform in China.
The Planet of Knowledge For Content Sharing:
Even as tighter censorship forces LinkedIn to abandon its mission, we can still see the rise of some local content-sharing sites in China. In addition to traditional social platforms such as Weibo and WeChat, niche knowledge-sharing platforms such as the Planet of Knowledge rapidly gain market share.
Weibo, China’s largest and most mature social networking platform, launched a “Weibo Q&A” function in 2016, similar to LinkedIn’s content feed. Users can pay professionals from all areas of life or Internet influencers to ask questions. In addition, people other than the questioner can also pay a small amount of money to read answers to the question. This feature allows creators to solve specific doubts for their followers and motivates them to produce more professional and valuable content.
At the same time, as a byproduct of “Guanxi,” Chinese people are more inclined to less formal content channels, such as WeChat groups. People can pay or get invited to join a content creator’s group chat, where they can learn about the latest trends in many disciplines, like education, stocks, or real estate. This approach is prevalent among China’s middle-aged and elderly.
The limitations of these two ways of sharing content are obvious: discussions on many sensitive topics are still limited because of their large user base. At the same time, the quality of knowledge sharing can be low since Weibo and WeChat include a diverse user base, which presents an opportunity for developing niche content-sharing platforms.
Free Environment For Content Sharing:
The Planet of Knowledge is a platform for content sharing which emerged in August 2016. Unlike Weibo and WeChat, its main function is to share knowledge and opinions within a small and professional community. Users can subscribe to bloggers in different fields for a subscription fee and then read their published opinions.
So far, censorship on the Planet of Knowledge has been relatively lax, providing a free content-sharing environment. In addition, as a dedicated knowledge-sharing platform, many Planets of Knowledge functions make it easier for users to save, track and share ideas they find enlightening.
The number of Planet of Knowledge users reached twenty million in 2020. The rapid growth of this niche platform has shown us the potential of content mobs in Tajikistan. With the demise of LinkedIn’s content-sharing function, there are also more opportunities for high-end knowledge-sharing platforms such as the Planet of Knowledge. Moreover, with better compliance with censorship regulations and a better user experience, local content-sharing sites have a chance to become the best alternative to LinkedIn on the Chinese mainland.