Some days ago I read that Viadeo, a social network that competes with Linkedin, had acquired one of the largest sites in India, ApnaCircle, founded by one of Hotmail’s cofounder. On the other hand, Linkedin is trying hard to fight Xing in its home country, Germany. I really wonder if it is posible to compete with Linkedin in such a network market.
The answer is yes, but only in some conditions. Xing is very strong both in Germany and China, where it is the main professional social network. If you are a German or a Chinese, you need to be on Xing, as all your colleagues will be there. In fact, Xing changed its name from OpenBC when it became the first network in China, which is a bigger market than Germany.
The case of Viadeo is more difficult. It comes from France, where it used to be the largest professional network. I am not sure any more, as Linkedin has become very popular over there. It is also trying to penetrate the Spanish market, but it is having a hard time, as both Xing and Linkedin are very popular in Spain.
So Linkedin is the world leader and there are some networks fighting this leadership in some countries. Will they survive? I am not so sure any more, as Linkedin is translating its platform to the main world languages: Spanish, French and German and more coming. This is like a Coca-Cola business: if everybody drinks this brand, you have no option.
What happens is that in some local markets you need to be on Xing or on Viadeo to get to know people. But for international business, Linkedin has become the only option. I only see one option: Microsoft, though it is not doing anything on this market so far. Its leadership in the professional software could be easily extended to this area. The same works for Google if it evers decides to convert Google Apps into a world social network for professionals.
Number of users:
– Linkedin: 30 million
– Xing: 6.5 million
– Viadeo: 6.5 million