Yahoo Exits China after New Personal Info Protection Law comes into effect

One of the internet pioneers, Yahoo said that its sites are no longer available in China as the country’s Personal Information Protection Law comes into effect.

“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,” Yahoo said in a statement. It added that the company remains committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet.

The privacy law is intended to curb data collection by tech companies and further changes the risk-reward calculation of operating in a company that already requires censorship of certain keywords. The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), one of the world’s toughest on personal data security, has been compared to the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union.

Yahoo had previously downsized operations in China, and in 2015 shuttered its Beijing office, according to a report by the Associated Press. Its withdrawal from the country is largely symbolic as at least some of Yahoo’s services, including its web portal, have already been blocked.

However, Mainland China users can still access Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail and privacy dashboard to download their data from three given web addresses, according to Yahoo’s announcement. Microsoft’s LinkedIn ended its operations in China two weeks ago saying it was facing a “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”

Yahoo, which launched its domestic internet operations in 1999, closed its last remaining physical presence in China in March 2015, when its research and development operation in Beijing was shut down, according to reports. Its news and community services in the country were terminated in September 2013, a month after its local email service was discontinued, according to a report by South China Morning Post.

Yahoo is 90 per cent owned by investment funds managed by Apollo Global Management and 10 per cent by Verizon Communications.

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