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LINKEDIN’S COMPROMISE TO OPERATE IN CHINA: CENSORSHIP

To do business in China, LinkedIn is complying with local laws, including those restricting freedom of expression. Several US tech companies, such as Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and Google, had already tried to enter into this Asian market, but their attempts come to a bad end; instead LinkedIn’s experience might open a new positive chapter.

LinkedIn wants to revolutionize Chinese job market as it did in other countries; to pursue this scope, the company has launched a Chinese version of the website and joined two local partners -  China Broadband Capital and a Chinese affiliate of Sequoia Capital, an American venture capital firm - relinquishing 7% of its local operations. This crucial channel promises to play a strategic role in the US company interaction with Chinese government, and it appears to have already earned LinkedIn a tacit government approval.

The downside of this operation is that the Californian giant had to make the difficult decision to work with heavy restrictions. Contents considered sensitive by local authorities are censored by means of algorithms and human reviewers. In addition to that, the Chinese version lacks of certain popular features as the possibility to create and join groups or to publish long posts to stimulate public discussions and build communities.

Expert analysts say there are other aspects that could jeopardize LinkedIn’s reputation and growth expectations: although the company sides with freedom of expression supporters, non-Chinese users may abandon their accounts to show disapproval; furthermore, if it succeeds in this new market, the Chinese government could be more prone to make demands about what type of content is permissible globally.

 

The gLAWcal Team

LIBEAC project

Monday, 29 September 2014

(Source: The New York Times)

This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.