Zoom, a video conferencing platform that has skyrocketed in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has just become a lot more difficult for China-based users to access.
Like WhatsApp, which has experienced service disruptions on the Chinese mainland since 2017, some Zoom users have reported spotty access for core mobile and desktop functions, such as basic login, without a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection.
Meanwhile, the company is also suspending new free account registration in the region. China-based users who try to register for a new account via the desktop app receive the following message:
We regret to inform you that Zoom has suspended all new FREE user registration in China. From May 20th onwards, all free users in China can only join meetings. If you need to host a meeting, please contact sales in China to purchase licenses.
Thank you for choosing and using Zoom. It has been an honor to serve you during this difficult time.
-The Zoom Team
Nikkei reports that new user registration in China has been limited due to the country’s “regulatory requirements.”
Founded by Chinese-born American CEO Eric Yuan, Zoom came under fire last month when it was revealed that some international calls were being mistakenly routed through China. The company has also faced backlash over various security issues.
Yet despite these concerns, Zoom has witnessed an unprecedented growth in users due to global stay-at-home orders, with millions downloading the app to participate in virtual ‘WFH’ (work from home) meetings, attend online classes and connect with fellow loved ones in isolation. Zoom-related memes have become ubiquitous on social media during the pandemic.
Images via Facebook, Twitter
Unlike other previously blocked platforms such as Skype, the Zoom app remains available on the Chinese iOS App Store – for now.
READ MORE: Skype Disappears from Chinese App Stores
[Cover image via Pexels]