Alibaba Group, the owner of Yahoo China, rejected as “reckless” a Yahoo statement supporting Google’s stance in the country, after Google said it was hit by cyberattacks from China and may cease business there.
Yahoo, which holds a large stake in Alibaba, gave the Chinese company control of Yahoo China as part of a deal in 2005.
“Alibaba Group has communicated to Yahoo! that Yahoo’s statement that it is ‘aligned’ with the position Google took last week was reckless given the lack of facts in evidence,” an Alibaba spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “Alibaba doesn’t share this view.”
Google disclosed this week that it had been hit by a cyberattack in December aimed largely at accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. The U.S. company said it would stop censoring its Chinese search engine and that the move may force it to end all operations in the country.
Yahoo said it was aligned with Google that such attacks were “deeply disturbing” and called for opposition to violations of user privacy.
Alibaba’s statement puts it further at odds with Yahoo following an erosion in ties between the companies since Carol Bartz took over as Yahoo’s CEO. It also comes as some observers wonder if other Internet companies will follow Google’s lead in opposing Chinese censorship. The Alibaba statement did not directly address censorship, but both Yahoo China and Microsoft’s Bing filter certain search results for users in the country.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this week said the company has no plans to follow Google in pulling out of China.
Yahoo reportedly was also a victim of cyberattacks like those aimed at Google. Google said at least 20 other large companies were hit by the attacks.
In addition to Yahoo China, which is also called China Yahoo, Alibaba operates e-commerce Web sites including the business-to-business platform Alibaba.com.