Yahoo Shuts Down its Email Services in China
Yahoo’s email service in China has been shut down. The decision to pull out of the world’s biggest internet market is seen as part of the company’s efforts to support its Chinese partner and online shopping giant, Alibaba, sources said.
Yahoo China has advised its users to transfer their accounts to Alimail, which is run by Alibaba. Users, who opt for the transfer, will continue to receive emails send to their Yahoo addresses until 31st December, 2014.
Alibaba bought back 16% of its shares from Yahoo last September for $7.6 billion. Yahoo still retains 24% shares worth an estimated $14 billion in the Chinese company, which is expected to go public in next two years. It had originally acquired 40% of Alibaba in 2005.
Lackluster performance of its email service and controversies about leaking selected user information may have also contributed to Yahoo’s decision. Yahoo was earlier accused of supplying Chinese government with user information that led to the detention of political dissidents.
In January, for example, Yahoo China shutdown its Chinese music service, citing an “adjustment in our product strategy.” A notice on Yahoo China email’s site says that users with the suffixes @yahoo.com.cn and @yahoo.cn can register and transfer their data to a new Alimail account, where they will continue to receive emails send to their Yahoo addresses until 31st December, 2014.
The Sunnyvale based company isn’t relying solely on its investment in Alibaba, however, to ensure a footprint in China. Yahoo recently acquired Ztelic, a Beijing based startup that focuses on social – network data. Eight Ztelic developers and engineers joined Yahoo’s research and development team in Beijing, while Ztelic founder ( and returning Yahoo ) Hao Zheng was slated for a “critical leadership role in our Beijing Global R&D Center,” a Yahoo spokeswoman told us.
The closure of Yahoo’s email service seems to be a straightforward case of the business under performing. The company completely pulled out of South Korea at the start of this year as part of CEO Marissa Mayer’s attempt to “streamline operations and focus our resources on building a stronger global business that’s set up for long – term growth and success”.
Last year Yahoo also shut down a music service in China and closed a blogging platform in Vietnam.
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