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Can Linked-in Be Successful In China

When looking at U.S. Internet companies, China is one of the world’s toughest markets to tap into, but LinkedIn are confident that they can increase their users by up to 50 million in the next five years. LinkedIn entered China back in February 2014 after spending 4 years preparing and researching the go-2-market strategy. They are targeting the working professionals of China which is a staggering 140 million. To help with easing the locals of China to using the site is, Lingying, a Chinese language site. Companies such as Google, Groupon, and eBay have all struggled to become successful within China due to China’s own opposition and online censorship. Linked-in is being more cautious in its approach. Again it highlights how lessons learned from previous failures might improve chances of success.

At the moment they have around four million users and 70% of these users are concentrated in China’s four largest cities. This is where LinkedIn want to concentrate on increasing their members and to make it more appealing to the natives of China, the company is also working on some features where users are able to send messages to each other via SMS or through LinkedIn’s own services as email is an unpopular choice of communication in China. Local social networking sites have actually removed accounts and content when they have seen anti-government messages. LinkedIn have agreed to do the same and to abide by the stern rules given by the Chinese government.

So the question now remains… How successful will LinkedIn become amongst the working professionals in China? It’s anybody’s guess, but with the right investment, local sponsorship and hiring top talent it should be possible for them to achieve success….and we wish them luck. Two years ago GOX helped another business Silu.com set up a development team of Ruby on Rails developers and they created a “Linked-in” for Chinese expats, I believe it is still going, but one must not underestimate the cost needed for marketing…..it’s enough to bankrupt a small country!

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