According to an industry source, Reid Hoffman, founder of global professional networking site LinkedIn, is currently in China quietly conducting meetings with major Chinese internet firms Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU), Sina (Nasdaq: SINA), Renren (NYSE: RENN), and Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU) on possible cooperation for LinkedIn's entry to the China market.
In response to inquiries about what they knew of Hoffman's visit to China, all four Chinese firms said they had "no knowledge."
An industry source familiar with the situation revealed that LinkedIn currently has fewer than 2 mln registered users in China, accounting for an extremely small percentage of the company's total global users. Because it has managed to avoid getting blocked like Facebook, LinkedIn has enjoyed gradually increasing popularity among a segment of China's high-end white collar workers.
One China-based high-end executive search professional commented, "Nearly everyone I know has registered on LinkedIn. Logging into the site on a daily basis has become de rigueur for anyone working in the HR industry.
Editor's Note: According to LinkedIn, the site has over 150 mln registered users globally, 60% of whom are located outside the US. Existing Chinese professional networking sites which LinkedIn will face should it decide to enter the China market include Tianji.com, Ushi.com, Jingwei.com, Wealink.com, Renhe.cn, and Aceona.com.