Zoom to Shift to 'Partner-Only' Model, Suspend Direct Sales in China From August 23

Zoom customers in China received an email on the change, informing that it would provide them with “better local support.”

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Zoom to Shift to 'Partner-Only' Model, Suspend Direct Sales in China From August 23

In June, Zoom came under fire when it shut an account belonging to a group of US-based Chinese activists

Highlights
  • Zoom has been distancing itself from its China operations
  • Zoom users in China received an email informing them of the change
  • Zoom listed three partners that can offer its commercial service in China

Zoom Video Communications will shift to a partner-only model in mainland China from August 23, suspending direct sales to all customers in the region, the company said on Monday.

Zoom customers in China received an email on Monday informing them of the change, and telling them it would provide users with "better local support."

In the email, seen by Reuters, Zoom listed Bizconf Communications, Suiri Zhumu Video Conference, and Systec Umeet - as partners that can offer its commercial service to customers in China.

Zoom has been distancing itself from its China operations, which had come under the scrutiny of human rights activists and privacy advocates.

The company announced in May that it would suspend new free user registrations in China and limit new user registrations to enterprise customers who sign up through authorised sales representatives.

But in June, Zoom came under fire when it was revealed it had shut an account belonging to a group of US-based Chinese activists who were attending an online video group chat to memorialise the Tiananmen Square massacre.

In a blog post, Zoom confirmed it had temporarily shut down the accounts due to request from China's government. It said that it had re-instated the terminated accounts and "will have a new process for handling similar situations."

Months earlier, security researchers discovered that Zoom re-routed some calls through its servers in China, even if those calls were placed outside China.

The company said that the re-routing took place in "extremely lmited circumstances" and that it took its mainland China data centers off of an approved list of backups for users outside of China.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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