Over 6 million LinkedIn members in India and counting...

July 7, 2010

Ed. note: Jose Mallabo's last Q&A blog post was on the topic of LinkedIn and Social Networking in India. Since then we've hired a country manager in India and we continue to grow at a rapid clip in that part of the world. We also recently added our 6 millionth LinkedIn member there, which seemed like perfect timing for a blog Q&A with Hari V. Krishnan, our country manager in India.

JM: You opened the India office about 6 months ago. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

HK: With a country this large and diverse, we need to constantly invest in understanding our users better - this ranges from our end users to our advertisers and recruiters (for e.g.). That’s job 1, 2 and 3. Our team has also spent a lot of time in India this past year understanding the market, our potential partners and hearing feedback from our members.

JM: India just passed 6 million members and remains one of the fastest growing member bases in the LinkedIn network. What’s driving this?

HK: Culturally, professionals in India have always valued a strong professional network. In a hyper-competitive global economy, no one wants to miss an opportunity to build that strong network and I think people are seeing the possibilities with social networking sites like ours. Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of work to do to make LinkedIn indispensable to the Indian work force – but we’re headed in the right direction.

JM: How many Indian members will it take to hit a tipping point?

HK: Jeff likes to say that our ultimate goal is to connect all of the world’s professionals. My job is to connect the millions of professionals from India and help them be successful.

JM: Are you opening a technology center in Bangalore?

HK: (Laughs) That’s been the formula for dotcoms, hasn’t it?

We’re focused in understanding our end users' needs better, as well as developing both our marketing solutions and hiring solutions businesses in India. We rely on our product and engineering teams in the Bay Area for developing the platform and maybe some day we'll have our own tech teams in India. But it’s not our immediate focus.

JM: What about launching a site in Hindi?

HK: Local language is a critical part of our localization efforts around the world. We've recently launched in Portuguese and Italian - and both have spurred strong adoption by members.

That said, the language of business in most Indian markets is English. That's the primary market demand and we need to listen to it.

JM: The Indian work force is among the youngest in the world. Do you have any advice to the early jobbers just cutting their teeth?

HK: Building long-term business connections and relationships starts on day 1 of your career and can be the key to sustained success. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn affords you not only the most effective way to find a job but also be great at that job while building your professional brand in the process. I always urge users to check out our learning center for more tips.

JM: What can we expect from you and LinkedIn India towards the end of the year?

HK: We’ve added some great talent to the team in India over the last several months.  With this team in place driving our business lines and managing our partners, you can expect us to get more involved with our user community at a grassroots level.  We hope to do more meet ups with our members and customers in India at all key business centers in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and beyond.

JM: Really?

HK: Really. I’ve got my credit card ready.  I look forward to checking out all the cool coffee shops around the country with fellow LinkedIn members!