Yahoo Pulls Out of China as Beijing’s Stranglehold on Tech Firms Tightens

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Yahoo announced its withdrawal from the Chinese market during the last retreat of foreign tech companies in response to Beijing’s tightening control over the industry.

“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,” the company said on Tuesday.

The timing of the withdrawal coincided with the implementation of China’s new data protection law, which entered into force on Monday. The legislation, which has lasted for years, has been compared by some to the Chinese equivalent of strict GDPR in Europe.

The law limits the conditions under which companies can collect personal information and sets rules for its use. Chinese laws also state that companies operating in the country must transmit data at the request of the authorities, making it difficult for international companies to operate in China as they may face pressure at home to give in to the demands of the authorities. Beijing.

In the run-up to the implementation of the new legislation, foreign tech companies have informed their users about changes to their services in recent months.

Yahoo’s pullout came less than a month after another U.S. tech company, Microsoft’s professional networking platform LinkedIn, announced it was shutting down operations in China. in China “.

On Tuesday, Yahoo users in mainland China were told that the company’s services would no longer be accessible. Affected products included and media outlets such as TechCrunch. Users of apps like Yahoo Weather were told in October that it would be on hiatus this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Yahoo has had a tumultuous and controversial existence in mainland China. In 2007, the company was criticized by US lawmakers after giving authorities data on two Chinese dissidents, which ultimately led to their imprisonment.

In recent years, as regulations for foreign tech companies tightened and domestic competition increased, Yahoo has started to scale back its operations in China. In 2015, she closed her Beijing office.

Analysts believe Yahoo’s withdrawal from China is largely symbolic, as at least some of Yahoo’s services, including its web portal, have already been blocked. China has also blocked other US internet services, such as Facebook and Google. Mainland users who want to access these websites use a virtual private network (VPN) to bypass the block.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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