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Yahoo exits Chinese market amid tech crackdown by Beijing

Beijing has embarked on a wide-ranging regulatory clampdown on a number of industries in a drive to tighten its control of the economy

As the crackdown on Big Tech companies continues by the ruling Chinese dispensation, the US internet services company Yahoo on Tuesday announced that it has pulled out of mainland China. Yahoo has become the latest tech firm to withdraw as a crackdown by Beijing on the industry gathers pace. The move comes just days after American gaming giant Epic said it will shut its popular game ‘Fortnite’ following the imposition of strict curbs on the world’s biggest gaming market.

Beijing has embarked on a wide-ranging regulatory clampdown on a number of industries in a drive to tighten its control of the economy, with tech firms taking the brunt.

The crackdown has seen a number of US-based companies withdraw major products from China in recent weeks, with Microsoft October announcing the closure of its career-oriented social network LinkedIn.

“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.

“Yahoo remains committed to the rights of our users and free and open internet. We thank our users for their support.”

Foreign tech companies have long walked a tightrope in China, forced to comply with strict local laws and government censorship of content.

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010, refusing Beijing’s requirement to censor search results.

Reports in 2018 of a plan by Google executives to explore reopening a site in China sparked a backlash from rights groups and Google employees warning that a censored search engine would set a ‘dangerous precedent’.

Meanwhile, Yahoo China was launched in 1999, when the company was among the world’s most important internet firms. Its presence in the country has shrunk in recent years, with Yahoo shutting down its Chinese mail service in 2013.

In August this year, Yahoo had shut down its news operations including Yahoo News, Yahoo Cricket, Finance, Entertainment, and MAKERS India in view of Modi government changes to regulatory laws limiting foreign ownership of media companies that operate and publish digital content in India.

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