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A phone showing a message stating Yahoo's plans to no longer offer its services in mainland China
Yahoo has decided to stop offering its services in ChinaImage: Ng Han Guan/AP Photo/picture alliance

Yahoo pulls out of mainland China

November 2, 2021

Yahoo has said it remains "committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet.'' The move comes as Chinese censors crack down on politically sensitive content.


US technology company Yahoo announced Tuesday that it had completely pulled out of China in response to a widening clampdown on the tech industry.

Under Chinese law, companies operating there are required to censor content and keywords are deemed politically sensitive or inappropriate, including references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

"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.

It said it "remains committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet.''

Tricky tightrope for Western companies

Foreign tech companies operating in China must also hand over data to authorities upon request.

In 2007, Yahoo was heavily criticized by lawmakers in the US after it supplied data on two Chinese dissidents to Beijing. Both were later imprisoned.

How much online criticism does China allow?

Yahoo China was launched in 1999, when the company was one of the world's leading internet firms. But it has significantly downsized its operations in recent years. In 2013, Yahoo shut down its Chinese mail service. Two years later, the company closed its Beijing office.

Microsoft withdraws LinkedIn

Yahoo is the latest US company to curb operations in China. Last month, Microsoft said it would close its career-oriented networking platform LinkedIn, citing a "challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements."

Google's services have not been available in China for several years. Social network Facebook, meanwhile, is blocked in the country.  

nm/wmr (AFP, AP, dpa)

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