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Zoom ends sales to customers in China

Zoom ends sales to customers in China
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Zoom will stop selling new and upgraded products directly to customers in mainland China, the company announced on its Chinese website Monday.

“Dear Customers, thank you for choosing our services,” the website reads. “We wish to inform you that we will be selling services in Mainland China only through our partners.”

The U.S.-founded company wrote that if its customers in mainland China need “online video conferencing” services, they can connect with Zoom’s partners, which include Bizconf Communications, Suirui Zhumu Video Conference and Systec Umeet. It is unclear what sparked Zoom’s decision. 

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Zoom first informed customers in mainland China of the change on Monday, and it is scheduled to begin on Aug. 23, a Zoom spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. 

“Our go-to-market model in Mainland China has included direct sales, online subscription, and sales through partners,” the spokesperson said. “We are now shifting to a partner-only model with Zoom technology embedded in partner offerings, which will provide better local support to users in Mainland China.”

“Users in Mainland China may continue to join Zoom meetings as participants,” the spokesperson added.

A letter obtained by CNBC said the company stopped selling online subscriptions in mainland China two months ago. 

The Zoom-recommended third-party partners sell products while utilizing some of the company’s technology. But products will not be available in mainland China directly from Zoom.

The video-conferencing company has received scrutiny in the U.S. for its connections to China. Earlier this year, Zoom reported unintentionally routing some meetings through Chinese services. It also closed an activist’s account who hosted a video commemorating the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, according to CNBC.

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The U.S. company was founded by Eric Yuan, a Chinese immigrant who is now a U.S. citizen, but its product development team is “largely” based in China, according to a regulatory filing

Zoom gained popularity in the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders.

Another tech company being criticized for its ties to China is TikTok, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE announced last weekend would be banned in the U.S. The threatened ban has sparked discussions between Microsoft and ByteDance, which owns TikTok, about purchasing the social media app.