News Column

LinkedIn Hits 200 Million Members, Majority Outside US

January 11, 2013

Jeremy C. Owens

Jan. 10--MOUNTAIN VIEW -- Professional networking service LinkedIn announced Wednesday that its membership rolls now surpass 200 million people, as international expansion has helped the company double its user base in less than two years.

The new tally is "an important and exciting milestone for the company," Deep Nishar, senior vice president for products and user experience at LinkedIn, wrote in a blog post.

"This milestone is more than just a metric -- it's a reminder of the global footprint and the scale of impact our network has each day," Nishar wrote.

LinkedIn passed 100 million users in March 2011, and has focused on other countries to grow that number, adding 13 new languages in the interim. Now offering its service in 19 different languages, LinkedIn says that more than 64 percent of its users live outside the United States.

India has proved to be the best source for growth, as the country's 18 million LinkedIn user base ranks second behind the 74 million in the United States, the Mountain View company said Wednesday.

Turkey and Colombia have provided the fastest year-over-year growth for membership, while China and Brazil have experienced the greatest rise in mobile usage of the social network, LinkedIn reported.

The total members LinkedIn claims seems to rank it fourth among U.S.-based social networks, behind Silicon Valley cohorts Facebook and Twitter. Comparisons are not simple because the sites use different standards and can release information sparingly, but Facebook is known to have more than a billion users, making it easily the largest social network.

Twitter recently surpassed 200 million monthly active users, according to a tweet from the company. The San Francisco company has not released a total number of members, but analytics firm Semiocast reported last year that the company surpassed 500 million accounts in June. Twitter refused at the time to verify that report or offer its own figure for total users.

Google's (GOOG) entry in the social-networking arena, Google+, has attracted more than 500 million members, with more than 135 million active on the service, the Mountain View company said in a blog post last month, though it did not note if those users were active daily or monthly. Vic Gundotra, the Google executive in charge of the company's social efforts, called Google+ "the fastest-growing network thingy ever" in the blog post, but its growth could be fueled by interest in other Google services -- such as Gmail -- with which the social network is attached.

LinkedIn comes in behind those services in terms of overall users, but the company has had more success in monetizing its users at a profitable rate. LinkedIn reported a profit of $2.3 million in the third quarter of 2012, as its main sources of revenue -- advertising, premium accounts and recruiting services -- all grew by at least 60 percent year-over-year. The company said in November that it expects to bring in nearly $1 billion in revenue for 2012.

LinkedIn shares increased Wednesday, closing at 113.66 after a gain of $2.49, or 2.2 percent.


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