Chinese companies have created an alternative internet with its own digital giants. The Baidu search engine has largely replaced Yahoo and Google in China, and WeChat and Weibo are the leading social media platforms.
Yahoo Inc. said Tuesday it has pulled out of China, citing an increasingly challenging operating environment, AP reports.
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.”
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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