Even as the $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft is still in the works, the world’s largest online business networking site is going out of the way to make it easier for Indian users to access it. The reasons are not hard to find. As LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner stated, India, with 37 million users, is its second-largest market after the United States (130 million). This is quite like Facebook where 150 million active Indian users comprise the second largest market after the US and Canada. At a time when Indian mobile internet users are migrating to faster 3G/4G networks, LinkedIn is set to tap the lower end of the market—users with cheaper devices who are in the regions with poor or slow internet connectivity. This is quite like what Facebook and, later, Twitter tried out. The advantage that India offers is that LinkedIn can tap into the Indian base to understand potential issues before rolling out Lite services globally.
It has also launched LinkedIn Placements that provides an online test for users—in association with HackerRank, Co-Cubes and Wheebox—which helps them find jobs. The skills and interests of candidates are matched with jobs advertised. Based on how candidates fare in the test, they will be slotted for interviews. The difference is that in India, unlike in the US, a student cannot appear for another campus interview after landing a job. Placements will provide an additional means for students to tap jobs in addition to the placements at universities. While it is currently offering software jobs across some of the biggest companies, it is expected to roll-out sales and marketing, finance and manufacturing jobs soon. With LinkedIn moving into online education via Lynda.com, this is another means to use online testing to boost another part of its business.