FirstFT: Last major US social media site leaves China – Financial Times

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LinkedIn is closing down its social networking site in China, marking the departure of the last major US social media company from the country.

The Microsoft-owned company announced yesterday that it was closing down the localised version of its popular networking website after “facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China”.

The move comes after LinkedIn was called in by China’s internet regulator in March and ordered to clean up its online content. In the same month, LinkedIn said it was “temporarily pausing new member sign-ups for LinkedIn China” as it tried to become compliant “with local law”.

Several human-rights activists and writers who focused on China have in recent months had their profiles blocked in the country for posting “prohibited content”, according to the company.

The Biden administration welcomed LinkedIn’s move and accused China of forcing companies to be “complicit in its repression and authoritarian practices”. 

Do you support LinkedIn’s decision to close its China operations? Tell me what you think at emily.goldberg@ft.com. Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here is the rest of today’s news — Emily

Five more stories in the news

1. Citi and Morgan Stanley ride dealmaking wave The two US banks benefited from a surge in dealmaking that bolstered revenues in the third quarter and helped offset continued pressure from low interest rates and weak loan demand. At Bank of America, which also reported earnings yesterday, investment banking fees rose 23 per cent to $2.2bn, helping it achieve overall double-digit revenue growth.

Global dealmaking continues to break records

2. Snipers kill six at Beirut Hizbollah-led rally Six people are dead and dozens injured after snipers opened fire on a rally by Lebanon’s powerful Hizbollah group and others in central Beirut, unleashing the worst violence the capital has seen for years as tensions rise over an investigation into the 2020 port blast.

3. Singapore to tighten monetary policy The Singapore’s central bank decision comes after the country reported strong economic growth in the third quarter. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it would “raise slightly” the slope of the band it uses to control exchange rates yesterday.

4. Chinese developers shut out of global debt markets International bond sales by Chinese developers have all but halted as the crisis at China Evergrande stokes fears of defaults across the country’s property sector. Just one developer has managed to tap overseas bond investors since Evergrande missed an $83.5m interest payment last month.

5. Biden pick for bank regulator says critics ‘demonise’ her identity Saule Omarova, Joe Biden’s pick to be comptroller of the currency, which supervises national banks, accused her critics in Congress and on Wall Street of singling her out for being a woman and a minority candidate, in an interview with the Financial Times.

Coronavirus digest

  • Top US scientists has recommended approving Moderna’s application to provide third shots of its Covid-19 vaccine.

  • Ho Chi Minh City is struggling with a shortage of workers following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown measures, endangering the country’s pandemic recovery.

  • Factory gate prices in China rose at their fastest pace in more than a quarter of a century as record coal prices intensified inflationary pressures on businesses and manufacturers.

  • Ikea has become the latest retailer to warn on supply chain problems, saying yesterday that stock shortages were likely to last another year.

Sign up to the Road to Recovery newsletter for regular updates on business and the economy in a world transformed by the pandemic.

The days ahead

Dussehra The Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil will be observed on Friday. (Hindustan Times)

FDA advisers discuss J&J booster Panel members are expected to issue a decision today on whether to recommend a booster shot for recipients of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.

US bank earnings continue Goldman Sachs, reporting third-quarter earnings on Friday, is a bellwether for investment banking, an industry thriving on the mergers and acquisitions boom. PNC Financial Services also reports today. Due Diligence has the latest news on global dealmakers, sign up for the newsletter here.

A marathon of marathons Runners in Toronto, Paris and Lisbon will take the starting line on Sunday. If you enjoy a gruelling run — like the FT’s Laura Noonan — there are more than 300 to choose from in October, more than any other month this year, according to online tracker Global Marathon.

The FT’s new-look “Britain after Brexit” briefing will keep you up to date with the latest post-Brexit developments, with original weekly insights from public policy editor Peter Foster and other senior FT writers. Sign up here.

What else we’re reading

Stablecoin investors may be due a wake-up call The critical attention being paid to companies such as Tether is a welcome development, writes Gillian Tett. Tether represents about half the total stablecoin universe, and it is often described as the reserve currency of the crypto world. But its reputation is not as stable as its name suggests.

© Efi Chalikopoulou

The supply chain crisis and US ports The queue of ships stacked high with brightly-coloured containers at the congested ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has become a national symbol of an outdated and overwhelmed US supply chain. The Biden administration is hoping new measures will ease the bottlenecks but the stakes are high with Christmas gift-giving season looming.

  • Go deeper: Global supply chains could remain clogged for two years because the world is so reliant on China for manufacturing, said the chair of DP World, one of the biggest container port operators.

How Latin America became tech’s next big frontier Buying a used car, renting an apartment or opening a bank account have traditionally been a nightmare in Latin America. But start-ups created to ease these basic activities are propelling the region to the forefront of the emerging market tech boom.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Adopting a global carbon price is essential A common approach to the cost of polluting is a fair and straightforward solution, writes the director-general of the World Trade Organization. Fragmentation risks generating trade frictions and unpredictability for businesses seeking to decarbonise.

Life, work and the pursuit of happiness Beneath the data about people quitting their jobs as the coronavirus pandemic eases run some familiar stories. People are fed up and burnt out. Freed from the daily grind, they are also out to find happiness and fulfilment in new careers. But there is a dark side to this pursuit, writes Andrew Hill.

Food & drink

Looking for something to cook at the weekend? Try this recipe for a salmon salad with herb sauce from Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. Crisp leaves and cooling cucumber, creamy avocados, pearlescent flakes of salmon — this salad ticks all the boxes.

© Patricia Niven

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