Yahoo’s email service in China has shut down, with a note on its log-in page asking users to transfer their accounts to Alibaba’s Alimail. The closure of Yahoo China email was announced on April 18 and is part of its gradual ceasing of services in China since acquiring a stake in Alibaba, one of the country’s largest Internet companies, in 2005.
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 December 31, 2014.
The Sunnyvale-based company paid $1 billion for a 40% stake in Alibaba in 2005. Since then, Alibaba has grown into the backbone of China’s burgeoning e-commerce market. In September, Alibaba closed an initial repurchase of its shares from Yahoo for $7.6 billion. Yahoo’s remaining 24% stake in the Chinese company, which is expected to go public within the next two years, is estimated to be worth about $14 billion.
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.