Reports are coming in LinkedIn is now behind the Great Firewall of China. The social networking site for working professionals cannot be accessed within the country as of Thursday. A report on CNN said that the company is looking into situation and is “currently in the process of investigating the situation further.”
Many analysts have speculated that the shutdown is due to calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” in China against the government, similar to the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Although LinkedIn is primarily a social networking site for career-minded individuals, it is one of the easiest ways to circumvent the block and access Twitter since the functions have been integrated into the site. China has already blocked Twitter and Facebook, which have been used as means to spread messages during the revolutions in other countries. LinkedIn is currently accessible through means outside the Chinese censors, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This blockage may also have an effect on the company itself, which was planning an initial public offering (IPO) to raise up to $175 million. The ban excludes LinkedIn from over 450 million Chinese users, the largest Internet market. It is important to note, however, the blockades have not hurt the success of Facebook, although that company has yet to announce an IPO.
“It certainly would be a negative in terms of the company’s future growth and profitability,” professor of finance at the University of Florida Jay Ritter said to WSJ. “This is something where investors would take it into account and be willing to pay a little lower price per share.”
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