Yahoo permanently leaves China and cites “difficult” environment

A Yahoo logo is pictured in front of a building in Rolle, Switzerland, December 12, 2012. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse

SHANGHAI, Nov. 2 (Reuters) – Yahoo has said it has stopped allowing access to its services from mainland China “in recognition of the increasingly difficult business and legal environment,” the second-largest technology brand Westerners to leave the country in recent weeks.

The company stopped providing content to mainland Chinese users effective Nov. 1, according to a statement on its website, which directed Yahoo and AOL mail users to other links. Local Chinese media reported Yahoo’s decision on Tuesday.

“Given the increasingly difficult business and legal environment in China, Yahoo’s suite of services will no longer be accessible from mainland China as of November 1,” a Yahoo spokesperson told Reuters on Tuesday. in an email.

“Yahoo remains committed to the rights of our users and to a free and open Internet. We thank our users for their support.”

Yahoo’s move follows that of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), which shut down LinkedIn in China last month, marking the withdrawal of the last major US social network in China. LinkedIn cited a “more difficult operating environment and stricter compliance requirements in China.” Read more

Yahoo had already sharply reduced its presence in China in recent years. Before Monday, he was still running a weather app and some pages that showed news articles in foreign languages.

Yahoo entered China in 1998 and in 2012 struck a deal with the Alibaba Group (9988.HK) to sell its stake in the e-commerce giant. The deal also allowed Alibaba to obtain the right to operate Yahoo China under the Yahoo brand for a period of up to four years.

Yahoo China later shut down its messaging service and web portal, but the brand retained a global research and development center in Beijing until 2015, when it was shut down.

His departure comes as Beijing has imposed new restrictions on its internet companies in areas ranging from content to customer privacy as well as new laws. On Monday, its new personal information protection law designed to protect the privacy of users’ data online went into effect.

In May, Verizon Communications (VZ.N) sold Yahoo and its other media businesses to private equity firm Apollo Global for $ 5 billion.

The Chinese tech blog website Engadget, which was also sold as part of the deal, was also down on Tuesday and only posted Yahoo’s announcement about it ceasing to provide content to mainland Chinese users. .

The creator of “Fortnite”, Epic Games, also said it was shutting down its servers starting November 15, after halting new user registrations on Monday.

“The Fortnite China beta test will end and the servers will be shut down soon.”

In August, China introduced new rules that limit the time under-18s can spend playing video games to three hours per week, a move it said was necessary to tackle gaming addiction. It was a blow to a global gaming industry that caters to tens of millions of young gamers in the world’s most lucrative market.

Reporting by Josh Horwitz and Brenda Goh, additional reporting by Eva Mathews; Editing by Keith Weir and Shailesh Kuber

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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