After a 20-year battle with the CCP, Yahoo, the one-time American tech giant that is now mostly owned by private equity giant Apollo (along with a small stake held by Verizon), has decided to pull out of its China business, becoming the second American firm to depart China over ethical considerations surrounding free speech in the span of a month.
When we reported on LinkedIn's departure from China, we noted that its departure marked the last major social media network to leave the Chinese market. But Yahoo, which offers web hosting and email services has been quietly plugging along in China for years - it has also maintained a relatively large presence in Japan for years.
Yahoo pulled its services from China due to what it described as an "increasingly challenging business and legal environment."
"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 Nov. 1," a Yahoo spokesman said. "Yahoo remains committed to the rights of our users and a free and open internet. We thank our users for their support."
According to WSJ, Yahoo's decision to shutter what's left of its Chinese business "was largely symbolic, as Yahoo bad already begun shutting down its main services services such as email, news and community services" back in 2013.
Yahoo's exit comes amid an ongoing crackdown by Beijing that's predicated on protecting "data privacy" of the Chinese people. the CCP and some of its top tech regulators have mostly targeted Chinese tech giants, with many seeing the concerns about "data privacy" (all data must be kept on servers based in China, the CCP now demands) as a pretext for reining in the power of companies like Alibaba and Tencent. China's Personal Information Protection Law went into effect on Nov. 1.
Back in 2005, Yahoo struck a deal with Alibaba which has been checkered at best. In 2007, Yahoo China was slammed in a Congressional hearing by lawmakers after allegedly exposing two political dissidents who wound up in prison.
A few years ago, we reported on Alphabet's "Project Dragonfly", a secretive program to reenter the Chinese market, which Google left in huff back in 2010 over Beijing's censorship demands.
If Alphabet's designs on re-entering China hadn't been extinguished already, they probably have been now.