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LinkedIn Has 2 Million Users for English-Language Service

LinkedIn Corp. said it has 2 million users of its English-language service in China, where the biggest professional-networking website hasn’t applied for a local license yet.

“We think language is important for us to grow, but China is such a complicated market that there’s more to it than just offering a local-language service,” Arvind Rajan, LinkedIn’s managing director for Asia, said in Hong Kong today. LinkedIn is “spending a lot of time thinking” about the China market, he said, without elaborating on the company’s strategy.

China is a potential market of 100 million professionals for Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn, Rajan said. No potential rivals have gained sufficient scale in the world’s most-populous nation, he said.

“The 2 million users that we have, by China standards it’s quite small, but they tend to be very influential, and very affluent, and a hard-to-reach audience,” Rajan said after a briefing today in Hong Kong to announce an office opening.

LinkedIn hasn’t applied for an Internet license in China, and Rajan wouldn’t say when a Chinese-language service may start. In Asia, LinkedIn offers services in Japanese, Korean, Malay and Indonesian, he said.

The company’s membership increased to more than 150 million, it said in February., a networking site in China for professionals owned by France’s Viadeo Group, had 6 million users as of June 2011, the site’s chief executive, Derek Ling, said at the time.

Unlike other social-networking sites such as those of Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., LinkedIn’s service is accessible to Web users in China, where the government censors Internet content it deems unacceptable. LinkedIn’s service was disrupted in China for more than 24 hours in February last year after user postings supported calls for protests in the nation.

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