China To Declare Skype Illegal

According to The People’s Daily, a newspaper run by Chinese Communist party, all Internet Phone Services except the two local ones, China Telecom and China Unicom, were illegal. This means that services like Skype, China’s UUCall etc. will be getting an axe soon. Chinese government have already banned websites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube all over the country.

The ministry also set up a hotline to collect reports and distributing PSA circulars.

“Currently, our ministry is working with relevant departments to focus on the crackdown on illegal VoIP & we are now appealing to the public for clues for illegal VoIP cases,” it said in a circular.

Although, Wang Yuquan(a chief consultant at Frost and Sullivan in Beijing) said that the notice is just a warning to companies like Skype not to grow too big or to challenge the state-owned telecom service providers.

“If the ministry hadn’t made this announcement, I think Skype would have offered its services in a very large scale. Now, with the announcement, it can’t,” he said told AP.

There are over 450 million internet users in China, therefore, this would be very difficult to enforce, since users can  simply download Skype or any other application from websites outside China.

There is no shutting-down action from the Chinese Ministry of IT so far, Skype is still available for use in China for the time being. Users in China currently can access Skype via TOM Online, the majority JV partner. TOM Online offers local versions of Skype for Windows, MAC as well as mobile platforms such as Symbian and Windows Mobile.

via PCmag