Since Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $ 26.2 billion in 2016, the company’s revenue has tripled. Mr. Nadella told investors in July that LinkedIn’s revenue exceeded $ 10 billion in annual sales, up 27% from the previous year.
LinkedIn declined to comment beyond its ad.
While Microsoft has tried to build a market in China for over a decade, it has had only modest success. Last year, Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, said the country accounted for less than 2% of its revenue.
Microsoft Windows and Office are common in China, but many people use pirated copies. The company tried to overcome the problem by hosting its software online and bringing in a major Chinese military contractor to help it come up with a more reliable operating system from the Chinese government.
It has been a difficult year for private technology companies in China. Xi has overseen a series of investigations, bans and new rules that brought down many of the country’s best-known local internet companies, including Alibaba and Didi.
“The scale and scope of the crackdown in Beijing has been so mind-boggling that not only domestic companies in China, but even US companies have had to pull out,” said Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities. “The last thing Microsoft wanted was to get into a political football situation in China.”
A sign of the sensitivity around the news, Thursday’s announcement was not made by Mr. Nadella or LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, but by Mohak Shroff, the social network’s engineering manager.
Yet as the LinkedIn shutdown pulls Microsoft out of a tough business, it raises questions about the prospects for its search engine, Bing. The only major American search engine still operating in China, Bing also censors the results. In 2019, he was briefly stranded in the country, even as he continued to push users there to report media accounts on controversial topics like the Dalai Lama.