Yahoo Exits China Over Censorship Policies

Close up of Yahoo! logo on a building

Yahoo has stopped offering its services in Mainland China due to the country’s challenging operating environment. The web services provider is the second American company to withdraw its services in China in the recent past, after LinkedIn pulled out of the country last month.

In a statement, Yahoo announced that its services will not be accessible from November 1st. The company blamed the move on the “increasingly challenging business and legal environment in China.”

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

Yahoo has previously reduced its operations in China, and even closed down its operations in Beijing in 2015. This latest decision is viewed as a largely symbolic move by some, as certain services such as its web portal are already blocked in the country.

Yahoo’s Withdrawal Comes as China’s New Data Protection Law Takes Effect

Yahoo’s withdrawal coincides with the start of China’s new data protection legislation. Officially titled Personal Information Protection Law, the legislation also came into effect on November 1. The law sets new standards for the kinds of information that companies can gather and how it must be stored.

China is notorious for its internet censorship and surveillance policies. The country maintains a very close watch over the types of content that is available on its internet and is notorious for its censorship practices, including a powerful firewall.

A VPN Could Allow Users in China to Access Yahoo’s Services

Yahoo offers a wide variety of services that are used by people around the globe. These include news, mail, and search. The decision to shut down its operations is likely to cause problems for users based in China.

Furthermore, Yahoo is not the only popular service that is not accessible in China. Some of the big names on that list include Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn. Many of us use these platforms to communicate with friends and family, for work, and anything in between.

VPNs offer a potential solution to the issue, as they allow users to get past geographical restrictions. However, this is not a surefire solution in China as its government blocks many VPNs and constantly works on improving its control measures.

If you’re confused about which VPN is best for you, our detailed guide will help make your decision easier.

Technology policy researcher
Prateek is a technology policy researcher with a background in law. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy, digital currencies, and digital literacy. Outside of his research interests, Prateek is an avid reader and is engaged in projects on sustainable farming practices in India.