For Chinese regulators, Even censored American social networks are too much.
Microsoft Said Thursday that it will stop operating its work-oriented social network LinkedIn within China By the end of this year. In a statement, the company cited “China’s more challenging operating environment and higher compliance requirements.”
This announcement is a symbolic moment for the U.S.-China technology relationship and China’s new tough attitude to regulate the technology industry.Microsoft’s exit is the most high-profile departure since Google Go abroad in 2010 To protest censorship and suspected espionage activities.
LinkedIn entered China in 2014 after agreeing to review misinformation and content on its website. Politically sensitive topics, Such as Taiwan. Microsoft has a long-term and relatively strong relationship with the Chinese authorities and acquired LinkedIn in 2016. In recent years, it has been the only major Internet company in the United States that provides content in China. LinkedIn said it will operate a China-only recruitment website in China, effectively canceling the social network and content sharing features of the website.
With the deterioration of US-China relations and the deepening of the economic impact of the Chinese government, the exit highlights the pressure on US companies. “China’s tightening of controls is becoming increasingly irreconcilable for Western companies,” said Nina Xian, a financial analyst and author of the Financial Times. Sino-U.S. Technology War, A book about high-tech competition and cooperation between the world’s two largest economies.
“LinkedIn is the last major content-related American technology company operating in China,” Xiang said. “As it disappears, China’s decoupling from the rest of the world will only deepen.”
LinkedIn’s announcement comes after the Chinese government has continued to increase pressure on its technology industry for months, a full-scale crackdown, and severe new regulations.Importantly, this includes a plan that will take effect later this year Check and standardize recommendation algorithmThis will cover the algorithms that LinkedIn uses to recommend content to users and new potential business contacts.
Microsoft has a long history of successfully operating in the Chinese technology industry.company Established an important research laboratoryMicrosoft Research Asia, in Beijing in 1998. The researchers trained there are all over the Chinese science and technology community.
In 2012, members of the laboratory collaborated with Geoff Hinton, a pioneer of modern artificial intelligence, using a method called Deep learning Used for speech recognition.The laboratory will continue Demonstrate a system for translating between English and Mandarin Use the technology in real time. Its adoption of artificial intelligence has helped give birth to many Chinese artificial intelligence companies.
Microsoft will continue to operate its censored search engine Bing in China, even though it accounts for less than 4% of the Chinese search market. according to MarketMeChina.
The pressure on LinkedIn has been increasing for several months. In March, the company’s executives in China were It is said that Despite the censorship system, it is still condemned by the government for failing to control the political content shared on the platform. It is not clear what prompted this action, but the company was reportedly required to conduct a “self-assessment”, stop registering new users, and report to the National Internet Information Office within 30 days.
August company Said again It is suspending new member registration through the LinkedIn app, “to ensure we comply with local laws,” but did not elaborate. In September, the company expanded the scope of the review Tell some foreign reporters Their personal data will be blocked by China
As the government implements stricter antitrust rules and regulations around the use of data and algorithms, Chinese Internet companies are also facing new challenges.
Under pressure from the government, the Ant Group Alibaba Financial Services spin-off Behind the widely used Alipay application, plans for multi-billion dollar IPOs in Hong Kong and Shanghai were cancelled in November last year. Since then, the company has been ordered to split its business to make its mobile applications compatible with those of its most fierce rival, Tencent.
In April, the parent company of Ant Financial Alibaba The regulator imposed a record fine of US$2.8 billion for antitrust violations related to e-commerce business.
In August, even though Chinese Internet regulators were concerned about data privacy, the ride-hailing company Didi was still condemned for continuing with its own IPO. The company’s app has been removed from the Chinese app store, and a new review of its data practices has been carried out.