Video conferencing platform Zoom has closed the door for new free registrations in Mainland China. The company said in a statement that it will only permit registration of enterprise customers.
Still, for new enterprise customers, registration MUST be done via authorized sales representatives available in the country. Enterprises will have to provide proof of business registration and corporate banking accounts in order to join Zoom.
This doesn’t close the door for unregistered free users, however. Those who do not have accounts can still be invited to join meetings hosted by either enterprise customers or registered users with a premium account.
These stringent rules have been attributed to “regulatory requirements” in the country. Zoom has come under scrutiny by both the US and Chinese governments as trade tensions between the two countries continue to intensify.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, a Chinese-based website, Zoom has also in the past been temporarily blocked in China as trade wars escalated with the US. Zoom was founded by Chinese-born CEO Eric Yuan in 2011.
The company has also been heavily scrutinized upon work from home boon, as it gained massive usage numbers. Many people resorted to Zoom to connect with friends, family, and even those working from home to stay in touch with their workmates.
Zoom was specifically scrutinized by cybersecurity experts for its laxity in the privacy and security front.
Since then, Zoom has committed to ironing out these issues by pausing feature development for 90 days straight. Even with that, the company also admitted that it routed some calls via China even those from other non-Chinese locations leading to further privacy backlash.
Early this month, Eric Yuan, the company’s CEO cited a “temporary misconfiguration in [their]our global data center” as the reason for call routing, adding that it had already been fixed.