LinkedIn Introduces New Products For the Indian market
After being acquired by Microsoft, LinkedIn has made major announcement with regards to their new initiatives in India. These include launching three new products, namely the LinkedIn Lite, LinkedIn Placements, and LinkedIn Starter Pack, which is aimed at ‘democratization access to economic opportunity in India’, which incidentally happens to be LinkedIn’s 2nd largest market globally.
Looking at infrastructure challenges in the country, the functionality of each product has been differentiated, and is targeted more customized to the needs of the 3 segments; the students, the professionals and the SMBs. Akshay Kothari, the head of LinkedIn in India said, “While LinkedIn has grown multiple folds in India since we started operating here 6 years ago, there’s so much more we want to do here. We are committed to India and to boosting our ability to deliver value to even more members and be a part of their professional growth journey, by investing and innovating locally.”
“These new initiatives help us keep pace with the rising demand for knowledge and access to opportunity,” he added.
The initiatives as announced, begins with the LinkedIn Light, which is meant for the public at general, and even the students for that matter, who are a ‘mobile-first’ audience, yet face infrastructure challenges when it comes to operating on the web, through their mobiles.
In fact, a few professionals and even businesses could use it to their advantage, in case they do not have a stronger net connection. In comparison, Flipkart and Facebook both have ‘lite’ versions of their apps for this reason. The way this works is fairly commonly known; a lighter version of the app or site would mean fewer system resources needed for users to access the services. So,m in case there is limited connectivity or fast internet is not available to the user, he/she can still access LinkedIn. Also, this version is mostly targeted towards getting the students and young professionals into the fold.
The next initiative is the ‘LinkedIn Placements’ which is a bit more feature rich. Though the target audience is largely similar, it would bring in those who have a slightly better internet infrastructure, and stronger connectivity, so that the full-features could perhaps be utilized. This will also include the online tests, which would allow a variety of professionals, beginner to mid-level, get assessments of their skills, which will be tested with creations from Aspiring Minds, CoCubes, HackerRank, and Wheebox, who have come on board with Microsoft (LinkedIn obviously included). This will also include a variety of professions and audience members like teachers, entry to mid-level professionals, who would come under the utility ambit of LinkedIn.
The last of the products is, LinkedIn Starter pack. This product is targeted at SMBs (Small and Medium- sized Businesses), who remain disorganized and fragmented in their efforts to bring in talent into their business. The Starter Pack will be more feature rich, and will give these SMBs a better marketing, hiring, and learning solutions on the single platform, for utilizing their hidden potential as enterprises. With India’s booming start-up community, this will actually click with a lot of business and change the way they function and perhaps, even turn near failure cases into successes. Currently in the pilot phase, this is being offered on a ‘first-come-first-serve’ basis to SMBs.
LinkedIn currently does not have a competition in this space. They have launched their pilot projects for these products, which is what will give them a ‘first-mover’ advantage. Also, with the innovation involved in these products, there is always the opportunity to expand the 37+ million user base in India, and involve whole new demographics into the fold, which will also test the major business decision that Microsoft took, when they bought LinkedIn for USD26.2 billion. The financial viability will be tested with the business model they make for these products, especially when they go mainstream into the market.
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