Less than 20% of India’s 1.3 billion people speak English. But LinkedIn, the largest professional social network globally, has so far only catered to this segment of the population in the world’s second-largest Internet market. On Thursday, the Microsoft-owned service said it was starting to change that.
LinkedIn has started offering support for Hindi on its social network. Hindi, a language spoken or understood by more than half a billion people in India and over 600 million globally, is the first Indian regional language supported by a social network.
The company, whose service supports 25 languages, said its website and mobile app will give users the option to access their feeds, profiles, and messages in Hindi. Users will also be able to create content in Hindi through LinkedIn’s desktop and mobile apps.
Even though India is a major market for many global services, LinkedIn has struggled to make deep inroads into the country. According to analytics firm SimilarWeb, India accounts for just 6% of the 1.3 billion visits on LinkedIn in a month. LinkedIn says it has over 82 million users in India, of whom more than 20 million have joined the service in the past three years. LinkedIn has over 800 million users globally.
Meanwhile, a handful of startups are beginning to address the same problems as LinkedIn. Apna, a two-year-old startup helping people find jobs in India, became the youngest unicorn in the country two months ago. The startup, which was facilitating more than 18 million job interviews every month as of September and offering its app in several Indian languages, recently conducted a survey that found that 57% of users in India rely on English as the local language. Prefer to use the interface.
In addition to traction, LinkedIn has faced challenges with retaining the top job role in India. In the last four years, at least three different people have been given the top LinkedIn jobs in India. The chain of events began after Akshay Kothari, now the chief operating officer of Dharana resigned from the lead role of LinkedIn India in 2018.
The announcement on Thursday comes less than two months after Microsoft shut down LinkedIn in China, the world’s largest Internet market, and replaced its marquee social offering with a job board.
“In India, LinkedIn has been mission-critical to help people connect, learn, grow, and get hired during the pandemic and we are in this new world of work. With the launch of Hindi, now more members and customers can unlock more and more and get value from the platform through content, jobs, and networking, said LinkedIn’s India Country Manager Ashutosh Gupta in a post. express in what they feel comfortable in.”
In the coming months, LinkedIn said it will work towards broadening the job opportunities available to Hindi-speaking professionals across industries. It is also looking at adding more Hindi publishers and creators in the coming weeks to boost engagement in Hindi on the platform.