Find here Daxue Talks Episode 81. As a self-sustaining internal economy, China has many competitors of LinkedIn as a job search and networking platform. We have interviewed experts from LinkedIn Local Asia, Julien Sicard and Tamar Hela, about the localization and presence of LinkedIn in China. They also touch upon the key figures and demographics of users in China and recent initiatives of LinkedIn China.
Full transcript below:
LinkedIn is the only Western social media allowed in China. In terms of numbers how large is the LinkedIn China community?
We do know a few internal things that have been shared with us from LinkedIn APAC but we can’t share them. But what we do know is that there’s just over 56 million registered users in China. Now as far as the numbers for active users and posts and all that, that’s all internal and we can’t disclose that.
However, we do know that the goals of especially LinkedIn China are kind of two-fold. One is to get more active users and that means that they’re really educating users here through different things like demo’s and they’ll come show their products. A really interesting initiative that LinkedIn China did this year which was really, really touching actually, especially those who were in Wuhan and did so many, they lost a lot of opportunities, especially college students right this year. So what LinkedIn China did was they kind of enacted this coaching feature and they had volunteers and people who love using LinkedIn as well as the LinkedIn staff here. They went to go career coach these college students and especially help them use LinkedIn. So, I appreciate that because it’s really active as far as educating LinkedIn users and then the other side is really getting Chinese users.
Chinese companies who want to expand globally, to understand how to prospect better, you must prospect online nowadays and also to be a little bit more culturally sensitive when they’re reaching out to different countries and multi-national companies, because for example here in China it’s so easy to prospect because people aren’t really suspicious or you can add them on WeChat right away and it’s not a big deal, but if you’re prospecting in the West, especially depending on the country that you’re prospecting to, people might be really suspicious. So, there is a bit of sensitivity knowledge that LinkedIn China is really going to be teaching their users.
What are the demographics of LinkedIn users in China?
Active users in China is very interesting to see that it’s used in the top cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou – Guangzhou is very active because there is a lot of trading. LinkedIn positions itself in China in the context that they want to have the Chinese to make more business outside of China. So, this is really the value proposition that LinkedIn offers, to try to get new businesses to go and use better the platform. If you compare to other platforms, LinkedIn in China, even if we compare LinkedIn to other countries, active users of LinkedIn in China are people in high-level positions. Why? Because mainly those people speak English, so meaning these people are very well educated.
Regarding the way they use LinkedIn in education but what I can say – it’s like definitely, or even inside our community the number of Chinese went from 20% to 40% so it’s a huge growth and we see big interest for Chinese people in using LinkedIn app. And again, for many reasons because the business in China internally is not enough and because LinkedIn is the most easiest way to make business.
To give you an example, during the pandemic people were in trade and wanted let’s say to send medical devices. What did they do? They begin to post my CV – okay I have this and this in stock and buyers outside. Let’s say in France or in US begin to interact with that and because obviously the algorithm of LinkedIn really takes into consideration the number of comments that you have.
The last few months definitely I would say as a result there are more and more Chinese active users. According to the forecast, right now the first country in terms user, it’s the US with 160 million. According to the forecast by one year or a year and a half it’s going to be the Chinese. China is already the third country, not far away from India. India has right now 60 million users, so you see, yeah, it’s pretty interesting, just going to grow definitely. For the active users, I would say if we talk again more about the demographic, I would say the average age is more than 30 years old, we are again more mature, we are not like on Douyin, TikTok – yeah this is definitely a platform where people here in China are more than 30 years old.
Is any Chinese platform equivalent of LinkedIn?
I know in 2018 TechCrunch was reporting a platform called MaiMai. I haven’t really heard of it recently, they got funding of I think 200M or something like that, so that was interesting and they were set to rival LinkedIn but I know that there are some other more job search platforms that are quite popular.
There’s another one that’s called Boss and it integrates video interviewing right away as well, but again I think LinkedIn China in the past especially year has done a really great job of kind of rising above that and that’s also to why we as a community, LinkedIn Local, we wanted to start collaborating with them and supporting each other. We met with one of the head marketing people from Beijing last year and were asking: what are your goals, what are your targets, what are your KPI’s in the next coming 12 months, how can we help etc. I think again it just goes back to if LinkedIn can continue to do a really god job here, educating users and then really pushing their products, they need to show people more and more how to use their products because people are still clueless about it, then I think they’re not even going to really have a big competition and as – it’s interesting.
I mean China is definitely looking to creating a self-sustaining internal economy because of the pandemic, so we’re going to see how that plays out with social media platforms that are professional and how the economy will reach to that, how people will start using LinkedIn maybe in a different way here, maybe more internal or domestic networking, however I still think there’s going to be a lot of companies here who’s also looking to expand globally. Maybe not to like the US but they have a very strong trade with Australia and there are so many users in Australia – so Chinese users here would be really smart to keep using LinkedIn and really be creating the network, a strong network and increasing their trade and their cooperation with countries like Australia who they have a good relationship with already.
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