Although LinkedIn, a social networking giant is a well-recognized brand worldwide, it has encountered potentially daunting challenges doing business in the Chinese market because of the fact that many foreign internet companies had failed. From its very inception, LinkedIn China and Chitu have been enthusiastically developing creative and strategic ways to cultivate relationships with their stakeholders. Based on the data collected, those stakeholders are, investors, board of directors, employees, government, media, industry peers, consumers and users.
LinkedIn China chose to enter the Chinese market neither by itself, nor by working with big Chinese internet companies; instead, it cooperated with “two local players — China Broadband Capital and a Chinese affiliate of Sequoia Capital, an American venture capital firm” (Mozur & Goel 2014, para.29). These two companies have helped LinkedIn China manage its relationship with other stakeholders, such as Chinese government officials.
Furthermore, these companies offer local resources, such as marketing insights and media networking. The availability of these resources is one of the most important secrets to LinkedIn China's seeming success (Interviewee 1, personal communication, February 24, 2016; interviewee 3, personal communication, March 25, 2016). Investors, though, are not directly involved in LinkedIn China’s daily operations. However, they do care about new-user growth on LinkedIn China’s platforms. Because its stock evaluation is closely connected with user growth, LinkedIn China is periodically updating its investors about increases in membership (Interviewee 2, personal communication, March 24, 2016; interviewee 4, personal communication, March 25, 2016).
Board of Directors.
LinkedIn China has an independent directorate made up of five members, including chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman; the CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner; the founder of Sequoia Capital China, Neil Shen; the president of CBC Capital, Edward Tian and CEO of LinkedIn China, Derek Shen (Qi, 2014). Board members hold a meeting each quarter to study how to better develop LinkedIn China, thus, ensuring that LinkedIn China is running more like an independent startup company (Tongxin, 2014). Compared with other foreign companies in China, LinkedIn China enjoys much more freedom because of its structure of and trust from broad of directors. Generally, many LinkedIn China’s decisions, including the creation of Chitu, could just be made between CEO, Derek Shen and two investors of LinkedIn China (Yang, 2016).
From adjusting the roles of local employees, to providing incentives that are designed to boost morale, LinkedIn China builds stable, long-term relationships with its employees. The following evidence, demonstrates that LinkedIn China is very considerate and selective in cultivating relationships with its employees.
Providing each and every employee with stock shares and generous rewards, has been among the most effective incentives and loyalty building strategies that LinkedIn has implemented (Interviewee 3, personal communication, March 25, 2016; interviewee 4, personal communication, March 25, 2016; interviewee 5, personal communication, March 25, 2016). Using this incentive mechanism, LinkedIn China is more like a local startup, which effectively motivates employees’ enthusiasm through communicating the important message that ownersh