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LinkedIn to leverage projected economic downturn for regional push

December 23rd, 2011 | by Raymond Lau

With a successful initial public offering and the recent opening of its Asia Pacific (APAC) headquarters in Singapore under its belt, professional networking website LinkedIn is gearing up for more growth in the coming year despite a projected economic downturn looming on the horizon.

In fact, you might even say the company is counting on it.

“Talent remains key to how companies compete,” said Arvind Rajan, Managing Director and Vice President of LinkedIn in Asia Pacific and Japan. LinkedIn aims to elevate the role of these “talents” to be an important source of competitive advantage for companies.

For the individual, this means that maintaining a robust professional network of trusted contacts will be an important advantage. And with 135 million members around the world, LinkedIn is positioning itself as the ideal social network for this purpose.

Nowhere is LinkedIn’s growth more apparent than in APAC. Research firm comScore reports that LinkedIn visitors from the region grew by 132 per cent from March 2010 to March 2011, and its number of APAC members exceeds 18 million. Update: The most recent number of LinkedIn members in APAC is more than 20 million.

Members accessing the service from their mobile devices also saw a huge jump of 400 per cent.

In preparation for its regional push, LinkedIn will be embarking on a hiring spree, aiming to double its current local base of around 10 employees.

The website, currently available in 14 languages, will also be localised for more markets.

In addition, the company will be looking into developing apps for more mobile platforms. Currently, the official LinkedIn app is available on the iOS, Android, BlackBerry and webOS platforms, but is conspicuously absent on Microsoft’s up-and-coming Windows Phone 7.

In a short interview with Techgoondu, Rajan also revealed that while LinkedIn does keep tabs on growing competing services such as Facebook app BranchOut, it is still confident of leading the pack. “We do look at what they’re doing, but I don’t think they’re really taking off, so we’re not that worried at the moment,” he said.

“People still generally see Facebook as a personal social network, not a place for work,” he added.

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