by Staff Writer
As part of the agreement to buy back the Yahoo! stake, technological support for China Yahoo! Mail service will be suspended and we will begin the China Yahoo! Mail account migration process beginning April 18 (April 17 PST), 2013; we will offer several options to our users to make this transition as smooth as possible, and China Yahoo! users will have four months time to migrate their accounts to the Aliyun mail service, the Yahoo! Mail service in the United States, or another 3rd party e-mail provider of the user’s choice.
After that four-month warning, yesterday was the final day for Yahoo China email users to login and migrate their email to an alternative service, Alibaba’s ‘Aliyun.
Contrary to speculations in April of this year, Yahoo is not exiting China as the search engine – it’s obligatory to use the descriptor “struggling” there – seeks to dismember its many under-performing products under the new leadership of CEO Marissa Mayer.
The closure of Yahoo’s email service seems to be a straightforward case of the business underperforming. 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”.
Since Yahoo China is run by local e-commerce titan Alibaba, that company is aiming to get all Chinese Yahoo mail users onto its own Aliyun email service instead, with the added advantage of email forwarding from your old account until December 31 this year. Alternatively, people could switch over (minus that useful forwarding feature) to more popular email services such as Tencent’s QQ Mail or Netease’s 163 Mail, both of which have the advantage of being supported by the email app in Apple’s iOS.
Yahoo acquired 40 per cent of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce titan, in 2005. Last year the Asian Internet giant bought back 20 per cent of Yahoo’s shares for approximately $7.1 billion (£4.54 billion). Alibaby was first handed behind-the-scenes control of all Yahoo China operations backs in 2005, covering things like Yahoo email, search, and the news portal.
Yahoo is China’s seventh largest search engine, with 0.28 percent market share of pageviews at the end of February of this year. That’s a fraction behind Microsoft’s struggling Bing, which has only 0.52 percent share. Baidu is the clear market leader. Aside from its woes in the search sector, Yahoo is also struggling up against the weight of local news and entertainment portals like Netease, Sina, Tencent, and even MSN.