LinkedIn China chief to depart at end of month

Users of the professional networking website surged seven-fold in the country over the past three years despite fierce competition in the market.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

President of LinkedIn China Derek Shen, who joined the networking website in the world's most populated market three and a half years ago, announced on Friday that he would only remain at his current post until the end of this month.

Without specifying the reasons for his departure, Shen said that the development of LinkedIn's China business is outstanding given it is extremely difficult for transnational internet companies to survive in the country, according to a Sohu news report.

Since its Chinese launch in 2014, Shen claimed that the country has become the fastest growing market for the social networking website, with the number of LinkedIn China users growing seven-fold to 32 million.

LinkedIn China's income has increased eight-fold during the past three and a half years, according to Shen. He added that the operation was not always smooth due to the collision of culture and business model between US headquarters and the China operation.

In order to avoid bungles like the many foreign internet companies that failed to survive in the Chinese market, LinkedIn China was established as a joint venture firm in the country, making it more like a local startup.

To differentiate from LinkedIn China, which eyes premium English-speaking professionals, in 2015, Shen launched another networking app Chitu to target Chinese people who do not speak English.

However, as competition among Chinese-language networking apps is extremely fierce and Chitu failed to make a hit, Linkedin decided not to renew the contract with Shen, who has heavily invested in Chitu, and resulted in his departure, the Caijing reported on Saturday.

Formerly working in Google, Shen has set up one of China's Groupon-like sites, Nuomi, in 2010, which was acquired by another Chinese internet giant Baidu in 2013.

After leaving Linkedin China, Shen said he would first chair Danke Gongyu, an apartment rental startup that he has invested in 2014. Danke Gongyu reportedly owns 300,000 apartments ready for lease, with its core management team from Nuomi.

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