Yahoo pulls out of China, citing ‘challenging’ environment

A woman walks past a Yahoo billboard in a Beijing subway in this March 17, 2006. Photo Courtesy: AP

HONG KONG (AP): Yahoo Inc. said Tuesday it has pulled out of China, citing an increasingly challenging operating environment.

The withdrawal was largely symbolic, as many of the company’s services were already blocked by China’s digital censorship. But recent government moves to expand its control over tech companies generally, including its domestic giants, may have tipped the scales for Yahoo.

“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.”

The company’s move comes as the American and Chinese governments feud over technology and trade. The U.S. has put restrictions on telecom giant Huawei and other Chinese tech companies, alleging that they have ties with China’s government, military or both. China says the U.S. is unfairly suppressing competition and trying to block China’s technological rise.

Yahoo is the latest foreign tech company to exit China. Google gave up several years ago, and Microsoft’s professional networking platform LinkedIn said last month it would shutter its Chinese site, replacing it with a jobs board instead. The departures illustrate the choices internet companies face in a huge potential market, but one where the government requires them to censor content and keywords deemed politically sensitive or inappropriate.

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