Chitu, LinkedIn’s professional social networking app for China, will go offline on July 31, ending a 4-year-long trial with the goal of attracting young Chinese users, which ultimately seems to have been fruitless.
“Chitu was an innovative trial in the Chinese market by LinkedIn, but starting a new business is never easy … It’s regretful that Chitu can no longer accompany you,” the app said in an open letter to users announcing the termination of its services last week.
Chitu, launched in 2015 and named after a legendary horse in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, was meant to be Linkedin’s blockbuster social networking app targeting young Chinese professionals. While cultivating a LinkedIn profile is popular among first and second tier city users and foreigners, Chitu was positioned as a secondary brand to further develop the Chinese market.
It’s also the brainchild of LinkedIn’s then-Vice President Derek Shen Boyang and his local team. It was run separately from LinkedIn globally. Shen once said Chitu would be the last project he was willing to go all-in for in his career.
Though Linkedin’s footprint in China keeps growing and it now has 45 million Chinese users, Chitu has flopped – its latest version in Apple App Store was updated 8 months ago.