Posted on Thursday, Sep 1st 2016
According to Analysys International, China’s online recruitment industry grew 31% over the year in the fourth quarter of 2015 to RMB 1.24 billion (~$200 million). Sequentially, the market grew 12% over the quarter. The high growth market is helping create new Billion Dollar Unicorn members. One such player is executive talent focused Liepin.com.
Beijing-based Liepin was founded by Rick Dai, a former recruitment and marketing expert at P&G. He founded Lietou.com in 2008 before renaming it as Liepin.com. Today Liepin.com is China’s leading professional and high-end career development platform. It is an interactive platform that connects employers with headhunters and professional managers to help fill open positions across the country. The platform also offers knowledge enhancement services such as access to high-end elite member libraries to help organizations’ development needs. Recent statistics are not known, but in 2014, the service boasted of a database of more than 11 million professionals and 100,000 registered headhunters to become China’s largest and dedicated career development platform for professionals.
Liepin focuses on providing recruiting services for top-tier talents only. Unlike other online recruitment services, Liepin has stayed away from an advertising and information distribution service model. Instead, it focuses on providing paid and offline services to customers.
Its customers include headhunters, professionals seeking employment, and organizations. It offers its services to headhunters free of cost as it believes that the headhunters help accelerate the collection of user data and attract more opportunities. It charges a fee from its professional members and the organizations. Organizations are able to post jobs, download resumes, and reach out to potential employees through their subscription. Jobseekers are able to send resumes and get contacts of enterprises or headhunters for their openings. This is quite a different business model from US players like LinkedIn or the other career sites.
Of late, Liepin has also expanded its international presence. Earlier this year, the company held its first career fair in Boston. The fair was targeted at connecting Chinese companies with Chinese talent in the US. Leipin hopes to expand its North American presence so as to offer Chinese companies and Chinese jobseekers access to the global pool of talent and employment opportunities.
Liepin does not disclose its financials. The company is venture funded and has raised $170 million so far from investors including China Mobile Innovation Industry Fund, Matrix Partners, and Warburg Pincus. Its last funding round was held in June this year when it raised $100 million from China Mobile Innovation Industry Fund. The funding valued Liepin at $1 billion. Prior to this round, an earlier round was held in April 2014 when it raised $70 million from Warburg Pincus and Matrix Partners in a round that was then one of the largest investments into a recruitment service company in China.
Liepin is not the only player in China though. There are others like 51job.com and zhaopin.com which together account for more than half of China’s online recruitment market. But these companies do not have a niche focus like Liepin’s focus on executive recruiting.
The high growth in the Chinese recruitment market has attracted big players in the region. In 2014, LinkedIn had made their foray into the region and had also released a China focused app Chitu to cater to the market. LinkedIn had also bowed down to China regulatory and censorship requirements to meet the region’s demand. The service was well received and by 2015 LinkedIn claimed to have over 13 million registered users in the country. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the acquisition of LinkedIn. Some believe that LinkedIn’s success in China could have been a big reason for Microsoft’s acquisition. LinkedIn appeared to have cracked the code for doing well in the Orient and with Microsoft now behind it, it could be a tough challenge for Liepin.com.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.
Photo Credit: Complete Interior Design/Flickr.com
This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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