Path:Sino-US›› Business>> Multinational Watch››
LinkedIn adopts market-specific dual-brand strategy in China

LinkedIn's office Photo: Business Insider 

Despite great success of its career-oriented social network that has snatched over 380 million members worldwide, LinkedIn Corporation has especially developed a new real professional identity-based social networking app called Chitu to appeal to Chinese tastes.

The move marks the first time that the American Internet company has adopted a dual-brand strategy for a local market by developing a product that is completely independent from its global social networking platform for business community.

Since entering the Chinese market in early 2014,, the world's largest social networking site for business professionals, and the namesake app LinkedIn have had more than 10 million registered Chinese users, according to LinkedIn Corporation.

"In the past, Chinese people held a view that social intercourse in the professional world was always serious, rational and vocational. Yet, after delving into the ideas of China's young business professionals, we decided to make Chitu an interesting and amiable professional social networking app characterized by (neoteric) product functions and UI designs," Shen Boyang, LinkedIn Corporation's global vice president and president for the China region, said.

The Mountain View, California-based company is well-known for its aptitude of making the most of its PC and email-based global social networking platform which is innately attractive to users who are good at English language or have overseas educational backgrounds and experience in working in foreign firms. But the global platform could not become as popular in China as in English-speaking countries, because such an elite group only accounts for a tiny part of its Chinese users.

"We realize that a multitude of Chinese business professionals pay more attention to their career development in China. Localizing some services of our existing product cannot fully meet the demand of that group. In light of it, we created a new product (Chitu) which is separated from our global system," Shen said.

Findings of a series of surveys conducted by LinkedIn Corporation show that Chinese users of professional social networking apps are aged at 20-35, distributed in both big cities and small towns and eager to share business information and build social connections through offline activities. Hence, Chitu, which is only in Chinese language, will center on O2O (online-to-offline) activities with due attention to offering conventional services including information sharing, online group chat and social connection building, Shen said.

Chitu logo Photo: LinkedIn Corporation

In order to increase Chitu's presence in China, at the beginning, the operation team will directionally send ads to some LinkedIn users it elaborately selects in a bid to attract them to the new app, Shen said, adding that inchoate access threshold for headhunters will be strictly limited in hope of not making the new platform too professional.

Comparison with WeChat

When asked to comment on how Chitu will break the dominance of WeChat in the Chinese social media market, Shen said that there exists no competition between the two social networking services, even though the popular messaging app developed by China's Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. now has 549 million monthly active users, citing the difference in target users of the two apps.

WeChat is a general social communication app with a user's connections on the app basically being his or her family members, friends or at least people he or she knows, Shen said, in comparison with Chitu, which focuses on connecting and exploring business and career opportunities across China. "Chitu encourages strangers with real occupational identities to know each other online…That is the biggest difference (between the two apps)," he said.

Furthermore, two users usually know each other on Chitu through the app's search function, and then have a meeting privately, which is diametric with WeChat, Shen added.

"WeChat puts more emphasis on life. A growing number of WeChat contacts will make users feel crag-fast when posting a photo to the moments. Is it OK for friends to see it? Is it OK for classmates to see it? Is it OK for colleagues to see it? Is It OK for boss to see it? There are too many considerations, and finally they might give up posting it," Shen said.

76 percent of users of social networking apps would like to segregate the life circle from the work circle, according to a poll conducted by LinkedIn Corporation, which deepens the company's faith in exploring China's professional social communication market which has seen an explosive growth in the recent two years.

"The relationship between Chitu and WeChat is actually complementary," Shen said.

Last year, LinkedIn Corporation and Tencent Holdings Ltd. built a partnership to allow users to link their LinkedIn account to WeChat account, a move that can raise the profile of LinkedIn among WeChat's users, especially in China. The integration enables users to see which of their LinkedIn connections are already on WeChat, as well as invite others to join.

More importantly, users' LinkedIn connections can be directly transmitted into their Chitu accounts to form a new career landscape, Shen said.

Explore Hunan Promote Hunan
Related Stories
Share this page
Touched Sympathetic Bored Angry Amused Sad Happy No comment
About us

Rhythm Media Group is a multi-media company, operating a US-based Chinese daily newspaper, The China Press, and the paper's website - (which has mobile-app version), as well as a Beijing-based English website The group boasts 15 branch offices across the US, and a number of cultural centers focusing on culture-related business in the North America, Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Launched in September 2012, the is designed to serve as a bridge between China and the US, and to keep its readership inside or outside China better informed by providing news and insights on China's current affairs, culture, life, business, people and sports.

Our Partners

About us - Contact us - Copyright - Terms of use - Privacy policy

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved