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Yahoo officially pulls out of China after new data protection law comes into effect

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By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

November 3, 2021 | 3 min read

Yahoo has pulled out of China on the day the country’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) went into effect.

The PIPL, China’s version of GDPR, lays out a comprehensive set of rules for how businesses should collect, use, process, share and transfer personal information in China and came into effect on November 1, 2021.

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Yahoo entered China in 1999 where it offered email, search directory services and translations of news articles

Before the introduction of PIPL, consumers in China were not presented with a CPRA or GDPR selector for their marketing preferences. At the same time, PIPL also allows Beijing to tighten control on how the country’s big tech uses data and curtail how private data is moved overseas.

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“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,” a Yahoo spokesman said.

Yahoo entered China in 1999 where it offered email, search directory services and translations of news articles. The company’s Chinese operations have been run by e-commerce giant Alibaba since 2005 before Alibaba shut the platform down in 2013.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo also closed its Beijing research and development center in 2015, laying off between 200 and 300 staff.

Yahoo joins business networking platform LinkedIn as the second American company to leave China.

LinkedIn said it would replace its Chinese service, which restricts some content to comply with local government demands, with a job-board service lacking social-media features, such as the ability to share opinions and news stories.

“We decided after facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China. We have not found the same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed,” it said.

Just last month, Yahoo was sold Apollo Global Management for $5bn, with previous owner Verizon retaining a 10% stake in the business.

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