In China, LinkedIn Struggles to Connect

Mention LinkedIn to any Chinese professional, and you will likely hear the phrase “bu jie di qi,” which means “not connected to the energy of the land.” This sums up the biggest challenge facing LinkedIn in China. Despite efforts to fit in with local customs, the company still comes across as too Western and out of touch with ordinary Chinese people.

Two years after launch, LinkedIn has more than 20 million users in China, it says, a small number for a social network there. By comparison, Blued, a local gay social network, has over 27 million users. LinkedIn also operates a China-only app called Chitu, which is currently ranked No. 1,376 in the Chinese iPhone app store, according to App Annie.

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“WeChat has become LinkedIn in a way,” said Ms. Gu. “The biggest problem facing LinkedIn is the WeChat problem.”

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“Many Chinese people are shy about showing everything that they have done in their resume. Some are worried that if their LinkedIn profile is too detailed, it shows that they are looking to jump ship—not a good thing if your boss finds out.”