Yahoo pulls its services out of China

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A Yahoo! logo is shown on a screen. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

HONG KONG (AP) — Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday said it has pulled its services from China, citing an “increasingly challenging business and legal environment.”

The company said in a statement that its services were no longer 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.

The company’s withdrawal coincided 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.

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.

Yahoo added that it “remains committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet.”

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.

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.

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