Yahoo is Through | Search Engine Giant Exits China for Good


Yahoo said it has pulled its services from China, citing an “increasingly challenging” operating environment.

“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 in a statement.

Last month, Microsoft pulled the plug on LinkedIn in China, marking the retreat of the last major US-owned social network in China.

LinkedIn cited a “more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China”.

The departures illustrate the choices internet companies face in a huge potential market, but one where the government requires them to censor content and keywords deemed politically sensitive or inappropriate.

In their place, Chinese companies have filled the void, creating an alternative internet with its own digital giants.

The Baidu search engine has largely replaced Yahoo and Google in China, and WeChat and Weibo are the leading social media platforms.

Yahoo had already greatly scaled back its presence in China over the past few years.

Prior to Monday, it had still operated 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 Alibaba Group to sell its stake in the e-commerce giant.

The deal also saw Alibaba obtain the right to operate Yahoo China under the Yahoo brand for up to four years.

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

New Tech Laws Posing Difficulties

Yahoo’s departure comes as Beijing has imposed fresh laws and curbs on its internet companies on areas from content to customer privacy.

On Monday, China’s new Personal Information Protection law designed to protect online user data privacy came into effect.

Chinese laws also stipulate that companies operating in the country must hand over data if requested by authorities, making it difficult for Western firms to operate in China as they may also face pressure back home over giving in to China’s demands.


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