Microsoft is officially shutting down LinkedIn in China. The company announced Thursday that the local version of the professional networking platform will no longer be available in the county as it continued to expand its censorship campaign.
LinkedIn was the last major social media platform operating in China, which has forced other companies to exit due to its stringent censorship rules. Popular social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have been unavailable in China for more than a decade, while Google exited the county in 2010.
LinkedIn's decision to exit the county came after reports emerged that profiles of some journalists had been blocked. This included prominent U.S. journalists, which Chinese regulators say had "prohibited content" on their profiles. This included journalist accounts belonging to Melissa Chan and Greg Bruno.
Apart from journalists, several profiles of academics and researchers had reportedly also been blocked in China.
The company did not mention the incident in explaining why it had decided to halt its operations in the county. Microsoft said it had decided to shut down LinkedIn in China because of its "challenging operating environment" and increased compliance requirements.
In March, Chinese regulators ordered Microsoft to "better moderate" content on its LinkedIn platform. The company was given a 30-day deadline to comply with the order.
Microsoft said it doesn't plan to fully exit LinkedIn's business model from the country. The company plans to create a new job search website specifically for Chinese users, only this time without the social media component found in its LinkedIn platform.
LinkedIn was originally launched in China in 2014, two years before Microsoft acquired the company for $26.2 billion. The platform was launched with limited features compared to international versions to adhere to China's strict internet laws.
Microsoft said it will be replacing the platform with a new site called InJobs, which will not allow users to share posts or articles. Compared to LinkedIn, the new site will not include a social feed. Microsoft plans to launch the website later this year.
China is currently LinkedIn's third-largest market. Microsoft previously reported that LinkedIn contributes about $10 billion in annual revenue.