afaqs!

LinkedIn seeks a stronger presence in India

By Tarana Khan , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | August 26, 2008
The business networking site is upbeat about its 1.1 million Indian members and is looking for local partnerships

The US & #BANNER1 & # based business networking site, LinkedIn, is keen on strengthening its presence in India, where it has 1.1 million members. Globally, the network has 26 million members from 150 countries. LinkedIn does not have country specific sites, but has recently launched a site in Spanish.

In an email interview with afaqs!, Krista Canfield, a spokesperson for LinkedIn, discussed the network's relevance in India. "Regardless of whether you're a C-level executive based in Delhi or a small business owner located in Sikandarabad, as a modern professional, your net worth is determined by your network. Your ability to contribute value, compete and convert opportunity into success depends on who you know, what you know, and how fast you can know it," she says.

The company is also exploring strategic partnerships in the country. Canfield says, "Moving forward, we know that we will be looking for strategic local players as partners to further stimulate our growth and solidify the LinkedIn brand in India." However, she refrained from divulging further details until the official announcements were made.

Membership on LinkedIn is free and users can contact people within their network. The site also has premium memberships, which provide increased access.

Apart from high profile individuals from established companies, LinkedIn also has 1,60,000 company profiles of corporate entities such as Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Sahara One, Bharti Airtel and Tata Motors on its site.

The site's business model includes premium subscriptions, ads, job postings and solutions for enterprises, such as recruitment services. Canfield adds that the company is expecting growth from all these segments in India.

The site also plans to launch a marketing campaign later this year, says Canfield, but the company has not zeroed in on a local agency yet. LinkedIn received an investment of $53 million in June and has been valued at more than $1 billion.

In India, LinkedIn is competing with other business networking sites which have either just started out or are industry-specific. There is Sabeer Bhatia's ApnaCircle.com, Info Edge's Brijj.com and TechTribe.com. The only other business networking site in the country which claims to have more than a million members is Rediff.com's Connexions.