Yahoo has become the latest American company to leave mainland China. The firm said its decision was due to an “increasingly challenging business and legal environment” in the country. Its suite of services will no longer be accessible in China from November 1. In a statement, Yahoo also says: “Yahoo remains committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet. We thank our users for their support.”
According to CNN, Yahoo services such as its email and news have been unavailable in mainland China since 2013. China is currently cracking down on big tech companies, both American and native. The government has passed various laws in recent years that contributed to a series of hurdles Yahoo and other companies had to navigate. One such law is the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL).
The law introduced a range of regulations about how data can be collected and stored, with the threat of massive fines of up to 5 per cent of a company’s annual turnover for breaching them. Foreign entities that process user information must have a presence, or appoint a representative, on the mainland responsible for enforcement. Its own native firms aren’t spared on the effects of this crackdown that serves as a five-year plan to regulate its economy. E-commerce group Ali Baba was handed a US$2.8 billion fine earlier this year.
Image: Unsplash/Gabriel Varaljay
The exit from China follows Microsoft’s announcement last month that it is removing LinkedIn, also citing the same reasons for its leave. The withdrawal of Yahoo and LinkedIn also follows the high-profile exit of Google in 2010 in protest over censorship and alleged espionage.