Residents of mainland China got a rude awakening today. According to The Telegraph, popular voice over IP (VoIP) app Skype has been declared illegal in the country. The only Internet voice calls that will be legal to place are those made over the two government controlled telecoms, China Unicom and China Telecom. This effectively ends Skype’s ambitions to break into the rapidly growing Chinese market.
This is far from the first western online product the Chinese government has blocked. Service like Twitter and Facebook are banned as well. Google even closed down servers in China early this year amid the censorship controversy. While Skype calling mat technically be illegal now, it is uncertain what actions the Chinese authorities will take against it.
As of now, most users still report being able to connect to Skype, and most can still download the client. Skype has said only that Chinese users should look toward their Hong Kong partner Tom Online for VoIP services. Though, many fear that Tom Online is monitoring traffic.