Europe’s Battle of the Social Networks


U.S. social network LinkedIn announced Feb. 4 that it is moving into Germany, home turf of European competitor Xing, the latest salvo in an escalating war between the two companies, which are both focused on business users. LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman talked to Informilo at the World Economic Forum in Davos about the company’s international expansion plans and how it plans to beat Xing in Europe. Click “read more” to read the story and see the video.

LinkedIn, which has been aggressively expanding across the Continent, now has 34 million customers worldwide, including India.  About half of its users are  outside of its home base of the United States. “We have more than nine million users in Europe, more than Xing has globally,” says Hoffman. LinkedIn last year expanded into Spain and France and will look to expand further across Europe in 2009, Hoffman says. He says Xing has mainly been successful in German speaking countries., noting that the only other place Xing looks well positioned is Turkey.

 “Of course LinkedIn is growing very fast and increasing the number of profiles in English speaking countries, responds Thorsten Vespermann, Xing’s director of corporate communications.  ” But we don’t fear the competition.”  Vespermann notes that Xing is available in 16 languages.  Xing, which is based in Hamburg and went public in 2003, has seven million members, about three million in German speaking countries. It has opened an office in Beijing but is mainly focusing on Europe. “We are the clear market leader in our home turf and in regions around the Mediterranean Sea, ” he says, noting Xing’s expansion into Spain, Turkey and Italy. About 500,00 of Xing’s customers pay €5.95 per month. Xing builds communities of active users on its site which in the last year have organized some 55,000 off-line events to meet and connect and network, says Vespermann. In December, Xing announced that it purchased New York-based Social Median for €2.9 million. Social Median’s technology will allow Xing to push news about business to its members. It expects to launch that service later this year. 

Click the video to hear more about LinkedIn’s plans for Europe and the rest of the world.



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