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.

John Callaham