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LinkedIn Lite: 'Made in India, for India'

Business Standard:  September 14, 2016

Bengaluru: LinkedIn, the job-related social network, wishes to tap users from India’s smaller towns and lower-rung engineering colleges, with a lighter version of its mobile website and other indigenous products that will help the company grow beyond its present 37 million users in the country.

LinkedIn has followed in the footsteps of the world’s largest social network, Facebook, which picked India as a testbed for a lighter version of its app. LinkedIn Lite will be accessible on mobile devices via the web and work on even slow second-generation (2G) technology networks outside the large cities.

“If you’ve been to the interior parts of India or even on the roads of Bengaluru, it’s often hard to access websites and LinkedIn itself had this problem. Twelve weeks ago, we decided to completely rebuild LinkedIn.com on the mobile web in Bengaluru, and we’re starting this with India,” said Akshay Kothari, country manager.

The company claims LinkedIn Lite will load four times faster than its previous mobile website and sip ever-smaller packets of data, considering a majority of its target audience has under 1 GB to play with every month. More, the site will load on low-end phones.

With a little over half a million active jobs on its platform in India on a given day, LinkedIn hopes to bring more first-time job seekers there, apart from technology talent from the smaller cities. It says it is also looking at India as a development site for new products that could then be exported to similar countries.

“Today is pretty much about ‘Made in India, for India’. We’re increasingly localising our products and services for India, to create as much value for our Indian members and customers as possible…and, as we all know, India is increasingly a part of the global economy,” said Jeff Weiner, global chief executive, here on Monday to unveil the new products.

LinkedIn, which in June announced it had accepted a $26-billion offer to be acquired by information technology giant Microsoft, also unveiled two new India-specific products, aimed at graduating students and start-ups. All the products were developed at their development centre in this city, one of only two such outside of the company’s US headquarters.

As for wanting to bring on board students from tier-II and tier-III engineering colleges, mostly from smaller towns, the company notes these people do not have access to large companies that visit campuses for placements. For this, LinkedIn has partnered with skill assessment companies and created an online test, which may take to become eligible to apply for jobs in certain companies. Over the next few months, LinkedIn will look to bring more companies and students on board this placements platform.

“If you go beyond the IITs and the NITs, and go to the long tail of Indian colleges in (these smaller) towns, there isn’t really a placement process. Students in those colleges struggle because they don’t have the support system that IITs have,” added Kothari.

Further, to tap the growing number of start-ups in the country, LinkedIn has unveiled a ‘Starter Pack’. This will give small businesses the access to create posts about vacancies in their firms, allow them to create content to market themselves with $1,000 in content credits and also two free Lynda subscriptions in order to train their staff. The starter pace will be priced at Rs 99,000 a year, a 60 per cent subsidy over the generic deal LinkedIn cuts for companies on its platform.

While India already houses its second largest base of users after the US, the ever-growing need of information technology companies for skilled professionals is pushing a look beyond large cities for suitably skilled candidates. The company plans to utilise its properties such as Lynda to bring professionals’ skills up to standard, with a a large number of companies deeming most engineering graduates in the country as unemployable.

“We’re going to start to see India push the envelope for LinkedIn in various areas, starting with economic opportunity, through this placement eco-system. There’s a lot to be learnt here that can be applied elsewhere in the world. Though we’ve just scratched the surface, we’ve already generated a significant number of jobs,” said Weiner.

CLOSE ON THE HEELS

  • LinkedIn has followed in the footsteps of Facebook which picked India as a testbed for a lighter version of its app
  • LinkedIn Lite will be accessible on mobile devices via the web
  • The company claims the new version will load four times faster than its previous mobile website
  • It hopes to bring more first-time job seekers there, apart from technology talent from the smaller cities

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.