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Microsoft's plans to buy LinkedIn could face headwinds in China

Microsoft's plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion could be an issue in China. The business-based social network censors content in that country, and that could be a problem if Microsoft decides to make some changes.

Unlike other Western internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn agreed in 2014 to abide by China's censorship rules. This allowed the company to add 20 million users in that country. Now The Wall Street Journal reports that there is concern that Microsoft's deal to buy LinkedIn could cause problems for its Chinese efforts:

"LinkedIn could somehow be hampered by that relationship," said Travis Wu, a vice president at Forrester Research in Beijing who previously worked at Microsoft. "It was seen as independent but now it's part of a big machine and if the machine has issues with the government it could affect them."A Microsoft spokesman reiterated what the company said in its statement. "LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence," in all geographies, including China. LinkedIn declined to comment about how the acquisition would impact the company's operations in China.

Microsoft's deal to buy LinkedIn is expected to close by the end of 2016, pending regulatory approval.

28 Comments
  • I wouldn't be surprised if there are problems with the censorship. Most companies do not support these kind of crazy things (well, except Google).
  • "Unlike other Western internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn agreed in 2014 to abide by China's censorship rules." Reading is fun.
  • They've moved away from that agreement.
  • [citation needed]
  • They even made an entire company called "Google China" which has been censoring since 2006. The first company from USA which does this.
  • Fun fact: Every company that has a datacenter in China cannot actually manage or update any of their servers/services without being escorted (virtually) by someone in China. There can be up to a day of latency with email as it is routed to the state before being sent on to its destination. So it would be hypocritical of these companies to complain about censorship when they've basically handed over the keys to their services.
  • I wonder what's the breakup fee on this Nadella lunacy? 3-4 billions? Would be money well spent.
  • 2 billion max, barring an outrageous percentage negotiated in contact. Weird that the China thing slipped by the lawyers radar though.
  • This isn't china blocking the acquisition, this would at most lead to LinkedIn being blocked in china due to MS as a whole not abiding by the censorship laws.
  • What are you talking about?
  • I kinda get the feeling that it's the Chinese government who has a problem, and not Microsoft nor LinkedIn. Maybe they should be more flexible in their policies if they want to be a part of the modern, connected world. My 2 cents.
  • Dictatorships only want to control their people. Being flexible has nothing to do with that end.
  • This is national interest! Same way america block huawei, and huawei even request for the us gov to investigate them, despite not finding evidence, the ban was still intact, i wouldnt blame the US gov for that, as they are protecting their telecommunication industry and national interest rather than letting a foreign company having all these important data, that they may provide to chinese government.
    As for China, China is a very big country with different culture, if censorship is not controlled well the country stability will be at risk.
  • 50 cent army detected
  • If we want to immigrate to a particular country, we abide to their rule, we blend in to their society, but not that whole country change everything to suites us. Same logic, they are not begging us to come, they are not discriminating us, but they made it clear this is our law if you abide we will welcome you.
  • Indeed, if you want to move to a country run by communist dictators, you will have to abide by their rules
  • well, china, if you want to cooperate with others, try changing your rules to fit and up your human rights game.
  • Human right? try reading reports on America's human right issue before condemning China. We should open our eye and stop being naive that US government really cares about human rights going round doing regime change on human right pretext, creating chaos and instability over and over again.
    Well any country should only cooperate if it doesn't hurts its country, China have done deal all over the globe without string attached on any government.
    Anyway, like it or not Microsoft will find a way to get consensus.
  • I'm really getting tired of China!
  • Oh really? And like 95% of technology are made in China! Countries like Canada, US, and UK are just showing their brand. The real brainwork and efforts are from people in India and China
  • That the factories are there (China) does not mean that's the where the designs were made. In most cases they were not.
  • lol, no The design, prototyping, and testing is done in North America, Europe, Japan, South Korea, et. al. Once thats done and its time for menial, low-cost labor then China takes over the rest.
  • I'm really getting tired of those who knew nothing about politics.I'm from Mainland China.We the people don't like CCP very much,But we hate those foreigners who want to do damage to us.The US supports many organizations which are harmful to our national stability,that's why we made censorship rules and GFW.Google left Mainland China several years ago,now it wanna back.Most citizens have never heard of Google however.The same to FB and TWITTER.
  • Microsoft better not eff that up. Its thd best economic based social platform there is. Love it. I rather hope Microsoft gets a freaking windows version out that actually does what it should do Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Over 20 billion dollars wastage per excellence...
  • pull the eff outta there. gtfo
  • pull the eff outta there. gtfo
  • pull the eff outta there. gtfo