4 LinkedIn Alternatives in China for Online Networking with Chinese Clients

LinkedIn announced that they were going to close their service in China last October. They entered the market in 2014 and were one of the few social media sites not blocked by the ‘Chinese Firewall’. This announcement was a golden opportunity for people who use other social media sites for professional and business networking opportunities online.

Now that it’s not available in China, we decided to list down four LinkedIn alternatives that you can check that will help you build connections in your business or profession.

Why is LinkedIn Discontinuing Its Service in China?

As one of the popular and powerful professional networking site in the world, LinkedIn offers a wide range of capabilities, including networking, recruiting, events, and content sharing. According to reports from 2014 when it first opened in China, LinkedIn has not met expectations. According to Analysis data on China’s Labor Force Report published in 2017, the proportion of LinkedIn users who use the platform is far lower than MaiMai’s (which implies that LinkedIn isn’t even China’s second choice when looking for work or building relationships).

Aside from the network’s performance in China, the main factor for its withdrawal was China’s regulatory environment and cultural censorship, which have been tightening over the past year and a half. It was first blocked in March 2021 due to a lack of management over harmful content on its site, forcing it to temporarily suspend registrations of new users.

In 2021, China’s government launched a sweeping internet surveillance program and seized control over internet companies in apparent reaction to the US IPO of Didi Travel Sharing, resulting in a massive amount of user data being given to the United States government.

As a result, the Chinese government decided to tighten its grip on internet businesses, and LinkedIn’s content sharing capability no longer suited the current climate.

LinkedIn China

#1 MaiMai (脉脉)

Maimai is a professional and social networking site launched in 2013. It now has over 100 million users, more than LinkedIn in China, as the most popular professional social networking platform.

Maimai, a LinkedIn knockoff, has over 8 million monthly active users. What made Maimai so famous is that it operates differently than other popular job and social-networking sites like Linkedin, ZipRecruiter, and others.

With localized features such as anonymous chatting, mobile-first design, real-name registration, and corporate partnerships from Chinese businesses in the past two years, Maimai has gained momentum as a China-based company.

#2 Douban

Douban is a website where people can share their thoughts about books, movies, paintings, and other things people like. Think of it as the combination of Facebook, Pandora, Spotify, and Fancy.com. It started as users’ reviewing books, but it now has reviews of all things. This means that the site has become more attractive over time.

Douban is a niche social media network in China and is great for networking with other entrepreneurs, business people, and digital marketers through its Douban Events and Douban Online Campaigns.

You can make new events on Douban City Events. You can have a festival, an exhibition, a movie screening or a live theatre performance. And you are not restricted on the type of event you want to have. It gives people opportunities to meet up in person. It also promotes brands’ offline marketing events. Meanwhile, for the Online Campaigns, you can take part by sharing photos or posts about a specific topic. You can also have prizes to encourage other people to join your campaign.

#3 Dajie

The Dajie network was established in 2008 and formally launched in March 2009, with users’ real names and real business social connections as the foundation for career development and company growth.

Dajie’s employee feedback and the ease with which recruiters and candidates interact is likened to LinkedIn. However, this is more targeted at recruiters and job seekers looking for work or connecting and networking. The job board also caters to the younger market by providing a portal to students with job opportunities.

If your company is looking for local talents or connecting with fellow recruiters, then Dajie is a good LinkedIn alternative.

#4 WeChat

While WeChat is best known as a social media network, it may also be used for business networking. You can interact with other professionals and share information about goods, services, and industry news if you create a personal WeChat account. You may also use WeChat to develop connections with possible clients and partners through WeChat groups.

With a WeChat account, you can also create a group for your business. You can invite other companies to join the group to share information.

For example, if you are part of an industry association or club, you could open a group chat on WeChat to help facilitate networking between all members. This allows everyone to participate in conversations about their profession, connections, and other activities.

Final Thoughts

Which LinkedIn alternative do you think is the best fit for your business? One of these four networks may be an excellent place to start. Maimai, Douban, Dajie, and WeChat are all professional networking sites that can help grow your company by connecting with potential clients in China.

It’s essential to consider which one will work best for your specific industry before diving into any new endeavor on this front. To find out more about how each site works or whether it would even benefit you, you can reach out anytime, and we will assist you on how to get started.

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