Briefing: Netease to close photo album platform in May

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网易相册:停止新用户注册 5月8日停止运营 – TechWeb

What happened: Online gaming giant Netease announced on Thursday it will shutter its web album service on May 8. New user registration and prepaid service were shut down Wednesday, and premium users will be refunded. Netease did not specify reasons for the closure in the notice (in Chinese), but encouraged users to move onto its Tumblr-style blogging service, Lofter.

Why its important: The shutdown comes as Netease slashes nearly half of its workforce across several business units as the economy slows and following the government’s throttling of the online gaming industry last year. The company reported that its 2018 net income fell 42.5% year-on-year to RMB 6.1 billion (around $895 million). Netease was granted a license for only one game title in December when authorities resumed license approvals to a limited degree, following a nearly nine-month moratorium on granting licenses that began at the end of March 2018.