China blocks US video-conferencing tool Zoom

1 min read
In this image provided by Zoom, there is an empty conference room with the company's video conferencing tools on display. (Image credit: Zoom)
A booth displaying an empty conference room with Zoom’s video conferencing tools. (Image credit: Zoom)

Video-conferencing service Zoom was blocked in China starting Monday morning, joining a list of inaccessible internet services in the country.

Why it matters: Against a backdrop of increasingly restrictive internet in China, the ban of US-based Zoom comes as the countries continue a protracted battle over technology and trade.

  • Domestic apps with video conferencing and productivity features are on the rise, including Alibaba’s DingTalk and Tencent’s WeChat Work.
  • In the lead-up to China’s 70th anniversary in October, retaining social and economic stability is a high priority for Beijing.

Details: Mainland Chinese users first began complaining that Zoom was no longer available from within the country starting Sunday.

  • Attempts to access the app in China resulted in connection problems.
  • Zoom confirmed the problem, adding that it was still investigating the issue.
  • Zoom engineers identified the issue was caused by corrupting local DNS, referring to a common method of blocking websites in China.

Context:  Zoom raised $751 million in its initial public offering on Nasdaq in April.

  • The company recorded total revenue of $145.8 million for the quarter ended July 31, a 96% year-over-year increase over the same period a year earlier.
  • Security expert Jonathan Leitschuh publicized in July a vulnerability that could affect the four million Zoom users who use Macs.
  • Founder Eric Yuan was born in China and is widely admired in China as a role model for entrepreneurs.