LinkedIn is expanding into China. Though the English-language version of the site has been available in the country for years, today the company is launching a beta version in Simplified Chinese, partnering with Chinese companies in an attempt to create a more localized service. The goal is to expand the four million people who currently use the site in China to a whopping 140 million.
"Extending our service in China raises difficult questions."
The move opens the networking service up to a huge new market, but it also comes with its own potential pitfalls, namely issues of government censorship. "LinkedIn strongly supports freedom of expression and fundamentally disagrees with government censorship," says CEO Jeff Weiner. However, it seems that China's ever-growing economy swayed LinkedIn to make the move despite its reservations. "Extending our service in China raises difficult questions," says Weiner, "but it is clear to us that the decision to proceed is the right one."
According to Weiner, to combat these concerns the company will be transparent about its Chinese offshoot's operations and any potential government restrictions, and will also "undertake extensive measures to protect the rights and data of our members." With the addition of Simplified Chinese, LinkedIn is now available in 22 languages.