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Business

Microsoft pulling plug on China portal

BEIJING -- Microsoft will shut down the portal site it operates in China in June, according to reports in the Chinese press. The U.S. software giant ended its instant-messaging service in China in 2014, so closing the portal site underscores the extent to which Microsoft is shrinking its operations in China.

MSN China is one of the longest-running portal sites in China, offering search services, news feeds and lifestyle information. However, it was slow to respond to the spread of smartphones, and it now faces stiff competition from local players such as Sina, which operates the Twitter-like social network Sina Weibo, and Sohu, which operates the Chinese search engine Sogou.com.

Government-dictated gag laws and censorship were also factors in the decision, since these put a greater burden and more risk on foreign internet companies trying to operate in China.

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