Yahoo e-mail service ends on mainland

Updated: 2013-08-23 14:18

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily)

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Yahoo e-mail service ends on mainland

Yahoo's e-mail service in China was officially shut down on Monday, with a note on its log-in page reminding Chinese users to transfer their accounts and finish e-mail backup within a week.

It is the last chance for users to save their contacts list and data before they're permanently deleted on Aug 26.

The note from Yahoo China tells users with e-mail address suffixes and that if they transfer their account to AliCloud they will keep receiving e-mails sent to their Yahoo address until Dec 31, 2014.

"I doubt many Chinese users will choose AliCloud as a transitional mailbox, as the shutdown of Yahoo e-mail service has reminded us how troublesome it will be to change e-mail addresses again after Dec 31, 2014," said Lei Xiao, a businessman who registered with Yahoo e-mail in 2007. "Alibaba seems irresponsible giving users these troubles."

Lei said he had spent two weekends looking through all of his old e-mails and picking up hundreds of addresses and other information he wanted backed up.

"It is even worse than losing my mobile phone, as e-mail contains so much resource data and users like me usually don't take the time to sort them out on a regular basis," he said.

Yahoo China announced its plans to close Yahoo China e-mail service on April 18 as a part of its gradual ceasing of services in China's market since acquiring a stake in Alibaba, one of the country's largest Internet companies, in 2005.

Ending Yahoo Mail will leave the brand with nothing but its web portal business in a bourgeoning e-commerce market.

According to Alibaba, Yahoo Mail's business sector is not profitable and although the portal service is profitable, it seems small compared with other business units under Alibaba.

"The decision was made mainly to support users, as we are not sure how long we can provide the e-mail service under Yahoo's current technological structure," Zhang Jianhua, a spokesman from Alibaba, said.

Alibaba "felt there were lots of uncertainties in terms of the brand's development, so we made the decision to help our users transfer to a more stable e-mail service provider", he said.

According to Hitwise, which measures website traffic, Yahoo China had less than 2 percent of the country's total e-mail users before April.

"I registered with Yahoo China e-mail as it promised a free life-long service," said Bai Meng, a Chinese user who works for a multinational pharmaceutical company. "As it was my first e-mail, it is like a diary of my green, salad days.

"These e-mails remind me of things like the poems from my first boyfriend, my first job offer and many letters from overseas friends over the years," she said. "Closing the e-mail service wipes away all those memories."

(China Daily USA 08/23/2013 page10)