LinkedIn launches German site to take the fight to Xing

LinkedIn is launching a dedicated site for Germany where local – and floated – business network Xing predominates. LinkedIn had significant growth with sites for Spain and France last year – 200,000 users in two months and France hit 700,000. It has a an existing 500,000 in Germany, 80% of whom are usinng the site for English connections.

This is the fourth of LinkedIn’s country-focused sites. It has 41 which are simply translated versions.

LinkedIn now has 9 million European users, 30% are in IT, marketing and advertising and finance. Of course, during the economic crisis, those associated with financial and banking have gone up by 42%. UK traffic rose 40% in the last three months of 2008. EU managing director Kevin Eyres in London was hired last year to expand in Europe and that’s what he’s doing, apparently.

Xing currently has a market cap hovering at around $182 million, a fraction of LinkedIn’s reported $1 billion+ private valuation. And remember, LinkedIn can IPO anytime it likes. Xing has over 6.5 million members, about 510,000 of which are paying about $90 per year for a premium account to get full networking functionality.

In November Xing today announced its CEO Lars Hinrichs would step down and be replaced by Ebay Germany head Stefan Gross-Selbeck.