LinkedIn, the popular business social networking platform owned by Microsoft, will discontinue its China-specific jobs app InCareer and lay off 716 employees worldwide, the company said in a message to employees.
The move, announced Monday, will impact around 3.5% of LinkedIn’s approximately 19,000 employees worldwide. LinkedIn launched InCareer in Dec. 2021 after sunsetting its localized LinkedIn product in China.
“Though InCareer experienced some success in the past year thanks to our strong China-based team, it also encountered fierce competition and a challenging macroeconomic climate,” LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky said in the message.
Shares of parent company Microsoft were largely flat in pre-market trading Tuesday morning. In the third quarter of 2023, LinkedIn revenue grew 8% year-over-year to $3.7 billion, according to Microsoft’s earnings report and quarterly SEC filing.
InCareer will delete all user data by Aug. 9, according to a LinkedIn help page.
LinkedIn will continue to operate other businesses in China, including its LinkedIn Learning product. But Roslansky signaled that the company would continue to “manage expenses” in the year ahead, suggesting that further cost cuts or layoffs could be on the table.
China is a fertile market for U.S.-based tech companies, which often jostle with homegrown competitors to capture market share. The total number of InCareer and LinkedIn users in China was over 57 million, according to an InCareer page. By comparison, domestic competitor Zhaopin claimed over 320 million professional users and corporate users ranging from Baidu to Chinese government agencies.