Though the announcement may have gone unnoticed in other parts of the world, Yahoo users in China have known for about four months now that the company’s e-mail service would be shutting down in the country. But, whether users were aware of the shut down or not, it came as scheduled, with Sunday being Yahoo e-mail’s last day in China.
This decision has nothing to do with how well — or unwell — Yahoo China’s e-mail was doing in the country, but is rather business as usual. Since Yahoo China is run by local e-commerce company Alibaba, this service shutdown is nothing more than a way to get more users consolidated onto Alibaba’s Aliyun e-mail service. This shift is being facilitated by the ability to forward e-mail from old Yahoo accounts until the very end of this year, Dec. 31.
Of course, users could always opt for a competing e-mail service — Tencent’s QQ Mail and Netease’s 163 Mail are both popular options in Asia as both are supported by the iOS e-mail app — but other services don’t offer as convenient a migration path.
As for Yahoo, it’s possible this could play into the initiative it announced back in June to free up usernames for new users by shutting down inactive users — even though that initiative officially ended as of July 15. Still, there are likely a handful of usernames being left behind by Yahoo e-mail users in China that would appeal to the rest of the world.
Regardless, this is just the latest in a long line of changes that have taken place at the company after CEO Marissa Mayer took over last year.
As for its presence in China, Yahoo won’t be withdrawing completely. Its other services, namely Yahoo search, will remain in the country — at least for the time being.
Edited by Alisen Downey