After nearly four years, Derek Shen, the president of LinkedIn China, and who is responsible for the launch of the professional social network in China has resigned, in what could be a setback to the company’s mainland expansion plans
Shen, an experienced entrepreneur, said in a statement released by the company that “it is time for a new start” now that he has achieved the goal of rapidly expanding LinkedIn’s business in China.
LinkedIn is one of the very few western social networking sites that has managed to build a solid operation in the strictly controlled Chinese internet arena.
“It is difficult for multinational internet companies to grow in China and it is even harder to create a new business model in a well-established multinational firm. But now we can be proud to say that we have fulfilled our mission,” he said in the statement.
He said the company has entered a new phase of stable development and therefore it is time for him to make a new start in his career. He plans to work as the chairman of Danke Gongyu, a Beijing-based apartment rental start-up he invests in, while looking for new opportunities in China’s internet industry.
Before joining LinkedIn China, Shen, formerly of Google, set up one of China’s major group-buying sites, Nuomi, which was later acquired by Baidu.
Shen’s departure, effective from June 30, comes about six months after LinkedIn was officially acquired by Microsoft in one of the biggest deals – US$26.2 billion – in the technology industry. Microsoft has a track record of big buys that have gone south, with acquisitions including Nokia’s handset unit and aQuantive, an online advertising company.