What Happened: Yahoo Inc. is following in LinkedIn’s footsteps and exiting China. “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.
The American company also mentioned that it “remains committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet.”
According to CNN, Yahoo features such as email and news have been unavailable in China since 2013. And two years later, Yahoo pursued a cost-reducing strategy and closed its research and development office in Beijing, the Guardian reports.
The Jing Take: Considering that many of Yahoo’s features were removed from China years ago, this official market departure does not hold the same impact that Microsoft’s LinkedIn did. Therefore, AP News is right when it assesses that “the withdrawal was largely symbolic.”
But Yahoo’s tumultuous history in China didn’t help its cause, as journalists and social media users remember when the internet giant supplied the personal information of journalists and dissidents to government officials, facilitating their arrest.
At least two journalists, Shi Tao & Wang Xiaoning, were identified and jailed because of information Yahoo!China provided to authorities. Wang was accused of “incitement to subvert state power” and jailed in 2002, while Shi Tao was arrested in 2004 and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Yahoo’s involvement in these high-profile arrests undoubtedly tarnished the company’s reputation. It didn’t help that the American internet giant became irrelevant in China and struggled to keep up with rising competition from domestic online giants that received government support and were better equipped to pursue technological innovation.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.