Yahoo Shuts Down China Web Portal
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
The move, first reported by Chinese newspaper Global Times, follows Yahoo’s official shuttering of its email service in China last month. Users were asked to transfer their accounts to Alibaba’s Alimail.
Visitors to Yahoo’s China home page now see a farewell message citing adjustments to the company’s operations strategy as the reason for the change, and are then redirected to a site run by Alibaba.
The closing of Yahoo China’s portal is one of the final steps in Alibaba Group’s decision to slowly shut down the Yahoo-branded services it operates.
Yahoo paid $1 billion for a 40 percent stake in Alibaba in 2005. In September, Alibaba closed an initial repurchase of its shares from Yahoo for $7.6 billion. Under the terms of the deal, Yahoo allowed Alibaba Group to continue operating Yahoo China’s brand for up to four years.
Analysts have estimated that Yahoo’s remaining 24 percent stake in Alibaba, which is expected to go public within the next two years, is worth approximately $14 billion.
The popularity of the Yahoo’s China portal site has gradually waned over the years as the influence of Chinese Internet companies has grown. In May, the site was rated the tenth most-visited Internet portal in the country, according to Internet research company CR-Nielsen.
While it isn’t yet clear what lies ahead for Yahoo in China, a separate Global Times report said the Web portal site would turn its focus to charity projects, with the team in charge of running Yahoo China reportedly being relocated to Alibaba’s public welfare operations.
Yahoo has yet to comment on the matter, and Alibaba declined to elaborate on the site’s closure.