LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has made it clear that the company sees huge potential in China. Now the business network is taking steps to profit from it, even if that means accepting government censorship.
Weiner announced a beta site in simplified Chinese to reach what LinkedIn says are the country's more than 140 million professionals, one in five of what Weiner calls "the world's knowledge workers."
This makes Chinese one of the site's 22 languages worldwide.
Weiner acknowledged major challenges.
"As a condition for operating in the country, the government of China imposes censorship requirements on Internet platforms. LinkedIn strongly supports freedom of expression and fundamentally disagrees with government censorship," Weiner wrote in his blog announcing the news.
"At the same time, we also believe that LinkedIn's absence in China would deny Chinese professionals a means to connect with others on our global platform, thereby limiting the ability of individual Chinese citizens to pursue and realize the economic opportunities, rights and dreams most important to them," he added.
Weiner said LinkedIn is committed to implementing government restrictions on content only when required, to be transparent and to take "extensive" measures to protect the rights and data of its members.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter @JBoorstin.