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Yahoo pulls China services as regulatory crackdown bites

US internet services giant Yahoo pulled out of mainland China starting Monday, as a crackdown by Beijing on the tech industry gathers pace.

© Karen Bleier, AFP
© Karen Bleier, AFP

US internet services giant Yahoo pulled out of mainland China starting Monday, the company said in a statement on its website, as a crackdown by Beijing on the tech industry gathers pace.

Yahoo said its site would “no longer be accessible from mainland China” starting November 1, after it gradually winnowed down its services offered in the country in recent years.

The firm is the latest foreign company to pull a major product from the Chinese market in recent weeks, after Microsoft announced in October that it would close its career-oriented social network LinkedIn.

Visitors to Yahoo’s website in China are now redirected to a brief statement announcing the closure.

“In recognition of the increasingly challenging business and legal environment in China, Yahoo’s suite of services will no longer be accessible from mainland China as of November 1,” the company said.

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

Foreign tech companies have long walked a tightrope in China, forced to comply with strict local laws and government censorship of content.

But a regulatory crackdown in recent months targeting the country’s tech sector has tightened requirements for everything from data protection to content moderation.

Yahoo China was launched in 1999, when the company was among the world’s most important internet firms.

Its presence in the country has shrunk in recent years, with Yahoo shutting down its Chinese mail service in 2013.

Yahoo’s latest statement echoes Microsoft’s complaint in October that it faced an increasingly “challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements”.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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