Yahoo has become the latest American tech company to permanently end its partnership and presence in China.
The company joined Microsoft’s business networking platform LinkedIn in pulling out of China, citing an “increasingly challenging business and legal environment.”
In a statement released by the company, it announced: “In recognition of the increasingly challenging business and legal environments in China, Yahoo’s suite of services will no longer be accessible from mainland China as of November 1.”
It emphasized that Yahoo “remains committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet,” and thanked its users for their continued support.
Experts say the company’s presence in the Chinese market had been dwindling for years and this final plug pull is largely symbolic. Yahoo’s downsizing operations in China had already begun – with its Beijing office closing its doors in 2015.
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Some of Yahoo’s alternative services, including its web portal, had already been blocked. A previous music and email service the company launched in China was also cancelled in early 2013.
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, Google and Instagram. Users who wish to surf the uncensored web in China need to use a virtual private network (VPN) or jailbreak software to bypass the block.
Chinese laws also stipulate that foreign companies operating on its soil must hand over data if requested, making it increasingly difficult for tech companies to protect their intellectual property while trying to tackle a growing Asian market.
Lawmakers in the U.S. harshly criticized Yahoo after it handed over data on two Chinese dissidents to Beijing, leading to their eventual imprisonment in 2007.