LinkedIn looks at startups, small businesses to drive growth in India

1 Jun, 2016

Professional networking site LinkedIn plans to localise content, engage with startups and launch products for small businesses as part of a strategy to grow in India, top company executives said on Wednesday.

India has been one of the fastest-growing markets for LinkedIn in terms of users. The company says the number of users from India has grown 10 times in six years to 35 million members and the country is its second-largest market after the US.


Linkedin co-founder Allen Blue said the professional network will keep its eyes open toward startups for partnerships as well as acquisitions. "We are always looking at startups as partners to work with; startups that add value to our customers," Blue told reporters at the company's new office in Bangalore. "As far as investments are concerned, we are not aggressive in the market. But if we do see some good startups that can complement the work we do, we may invest in them."

Akshay Kothari, country manager and head of products at LinkedIn India, said the company has a "strategic focus" on Indian students and helping them get their first job. "Placement [of students] is the first step and we will invest more in helping that transition," he said.

Kothari said the company will offer tailor-made products to the vast number of small businesses in the country to help them in hiring and sealing business tie-ups with a focus on monetisation. He said 350,000 firms in the country are using Linkedin services.


"One of the things we are looking at is to find out specific things that can be changed in our offerings," he said.

The company, which has 650 employees in India across functions such as sales, customer operations, engineering and content, is also focusing on localisation of content. "For example, in India, we changed zip code to pin code. Instead of alumni we use seniors and instead of school we use college; starting from things as simple as that," Kothari said.

Another area that Linkedin wants to focus on is overcoming poor connectivity. "We are growing and more new members are coming on board. How can the site load on a 2G network so that they can sign in quickly? We want to make it fast and work on the most economical phone," Kothari said.


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