Since Monday, Zoom Video Communications has been notifying its users who are based in China that they will not sell services directly anymore but through its third-party partners, trying to show the US that the company doesn’t have too much attachment to China.
Any company with connections to China are under scrutiny in the US. Take the story of Huawei and TikTok, it’s just getting worse. For Zoom, after claiming that they had mistakenly routed a few meetings through the servers located in China, the unforgettable “zoombombing,” and the fact that it is founded by a Chinese-American businessman, the company is walking on eggshells, even though it is still an American company.
Starting August 23, Zoom will be offering its services through its partners and won’t be directly selling new or upgraded products to its users in mainland China. The recommended China-based partners are Suirui Zhumu Video Conference, Bizconf Communications, and Systec Umeet.
“Dear Customers, thank you for choosing our services. We wish to inform you that we will be selling services in Mainland China only through our partners. If you have a need for online video conferencing, you may reach out to our partners,” the company posted on its website.
Zoom has made changes in the past like stopping offering online subscriptions to its China-based users, but for this announcement, Zoom did not identify what prompted their decision.
Political Pressure on Zoom
Last week, senators Josh Hawley and Richard Blumenthal sent a request to Assistant Attorney General John Demers that the DOJ open an investigation into Zoom and TikTok as the tech companies allegedly violated Americans’ civil liberties. Aside from the said violations, both companies also have obvious ties with China.
“As tens of millions of Americans turn to Zoom and TikTok during the COVID-19 pandemic, few know that the privacy of their data and their freedom of expression is under threat due to the relationship of these companies to the Chinese government. Of particular concern, both Zoom and TikTok have sought to conceal and distract from their meaningful ties to China, holding themselves out as American companies,” the senators wrote.
Unlike TikTok which is already in talks with Microsoft, Zoom is treading the situation carefully, away from the spotlight.
Workplaces have shifted to the cloud and Zoom has been one of those apps that had a surge of downloads, as it is also used by families and friends who are apart due to the pandemic. Zoom admits there have been missteps wherein they did not expect the app to become as big as it is now. And its CEO, Eric Yuan, even said it has been extremely difficult.