BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network, formally tapped into one of its last remaining major markets by launching its Chinese version on Tuesday.
Unlike predecessors including Google who set up their own branch companies in China, LinkedIn launched a joint venture with Sequoia Capital China and China Broadband Capital, to localize its service for Chinese users, according to a statement.
The two venture capital groups have both had successful experiences investing in China.
"We are aware of the difficulties foreign companies have encountered in China," said Derek Shen, who was recently appointed as LinkedIn's China chief.
Faced with strong competition from their Chinese counterparts, few foreign Internet firms have succeeded in China in the past decade.
"LinkedIn adopts a start-up approach," said Shen. "LinkedIn China is not a branch, but a brand-new joint venture company."
With the two partners, "we not only have strong connections resources, but also can operate in a Chinese way more easily," he said.
To woo Chinese users, LinkedIn incorporates Twitter-like services Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo into its platform and allows users to bind their LinkedIn accounts with those on WeChat, a popular Chinese mobile app used by nearly half of the country's population.
Chinese are increasingly relying on the Internet to find new jobs and build professional connections. Before the launch of the Chinese website, LinkedIn already had 250 million registered users worldwide, including 4 million from China, who registered on its global website.
Despite the site's 4 million Chinese users, LinkedIn is still in its infancy in China and hope to further tap growth by connecting with China's 140 million professionals, said Shen.
Before joining LinkedIn, Shen worked as vice president of Chinese social networking site Renren.com and CEO of the group buying site Nuomi.com.
LinkedIn could face competition from a number of domestic rivals. Sites such as Dajie.com and Lagou.com provide similar services to professionals in China, matching their resumes with job offerings and helping them connect with others in the same industry.
It also face challenges from veteran human resource solutions providers like 51job.com, ChinaHR.com and Zhaopin.com.
"We can not judge LinkedIn's prospects in China at present as it has currently done nothing beside launching its Chinese-language website," said Wang Jian, a public relations officer of 51job.com, a leading human resource solutions provider that was listed on the Nasdaq stock market in 2004.
"Professional social networks have already existed in China for several years without any major impact on the market," according to Wang.
"Chinese netizens and the Chinese market are different from those in the United States," he said. "We are looking forward to seeing changes and adjustments from LinkedIn specializing for the Chinese market."
Chinese netizens are used to getting free information while LinkedIn depends on the subscription fees, which poses a big challenge for it to make profits in China, said Dong Xu, an analyst with Analysys International, a Chinese information provider.