Yahoo Japan has announced that most of its online services will cease to be accessible in the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom from April 6. The company’s email, credit card, and e-book services will continue to be available, but everything else is getting dark.
The reason given is the cost of compliance with European regulations, which would include the GDPR. In a statement, Yahoo Japan says it would be difficult to provide continued service to EEA and UK customers, and went further by informing the Japanese publication IT media that it would be “impossible” to meet the cost of compliance and to meet related laws.
Yahoo Japan is an entirely separate entity from the former US web giant, now owned by private equity firm Apollo. Founded as a joint venture between US-based Yahoo and SoftBank in 1996, Yahoo Japan remains hugely popular in Japan as a web portal and search engine, with countless other Japanese-language services including online auctions, e-commerce and appreciated weather conditions. and mapping applications.
The decision to pull out of Europe comes as Yahoo Japan steps up its efforts to expand beyond its home market. Z Holdings, the SoftBank-owned parent company of Yahoo Japan, merged with dominant Japanese chat app Line last year to create a new tech giant with global ambitions. Takeshi Idezawa, CEO of Line and now co-CEO of Z Holdings alongside Yahoo Japan CEO Kentaro Kawabe, said at the time that the new company “would like to launch a global smartphone app.”
Yahoo Japan has obviously decided that its user base in Europe is not large enough to justify the cost of complying with EU regulations. Its services are mostly provided only in Japanese, so its reach will have been limited, but it’s worth noting that a web company with such a large presence in its own major market feels unable to operate in Europe.