This is a huge step for a tech company like Yahoo, because China is a potentially huge tech services market, and it will be a financial loss for Yahoo, as of late tech companies have been overwhelmingly supportive of governments such as operates in China, so hats off to Yahoo for making a statement in support of human rights. Chinese authorities keep a very tight grip on internet services and what people are allowed to access and see on line, and though Yahoo’s actions are, for now, largely symbolic, perhaps other companies will follow and send China a message that denying human rights is not what the rest of the world stands for. The Associated Press has the story:
Yahoo’s withdrawal will coincide with China’s Personal Information Protection Law coming into effect on Nov. 1
HONG KONG (AP) — Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday said it plans to pull out of China, citing an “increasingly challenging business and legal environment.”
The company said in a statement that its services will no longer be accessible from mainland China as of Nov. 1.
“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 statement read.
It added that Yahoo “remains committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet.”
The company’s withdrawal will coincide with China’s Personal Information Protection Law coming into effect on Nov. 1, which curbs what information companies can gather and sets standards for how it must be stored.
Yahoo had previously downsized operations in China, and in 2015 shuttered its Beijing office. Its withdrawal from the country is largely symbolic as at least some of Yahoo’s services, including its web portal, have already been blocked.
Chinese authorities maintain a firm grip on Internet censorship in the country and require companies operating in China to censor content and keywords deemed politically sensitive or inappropriate.
China has also blocked most international social media sites and search engines, such as Facebook and Google. Users in China who wish to access these services circumvent the block by using a virtual private network (VPN).
Yahoo also previously operated a music and email service in China, but both services were also stopped in the early 2010s.
Yahoo is the second large U.S. technology firm in recent weeks to reduce its operations in China. Last month, Microsoft’s professional networking platform LinkedIn said it would shutter its Chinese site, replacing it with a jobs board instead.
By ZEN SOO