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Student comms disrupted by China Yahoo! Mail closure

Yahoo! officially shutdown its email service in China this Monday giving users a week to save data and their contacts list before accounts are permanently deleted on August 26.

The closure comes as part of an agreement regarding Yahoo!'s stake in China's biggest online retailer Alibaba

Although the closure was announced in April, the move could potentially put a kink in communications with potential and current students from China for institutions taken off guard by the announcement.

Hobsons, a private company which specialises in student recruitment and conversion, has reported implementing a last-minute campaign to communicate with over 3,000 students on behalf of its UK partner universities after a student tipped them off about the closure.

“We put a dedicated team together to focus on this project, which involved contacting our partners, creating university specific branded emails, identifying all students with Yahoo! China email addresses on our database,” Nina Pavitt, Director of Operations, told The PIE News.

Forty-four per cent of the 3,300 students contacted had already been made offers by universities

Because of the tight time frame,  email was the most immediate platform. Hobsons reached out to students asking them for their new email addresses and contact details.

Forty-four per cent of the 3,300 students contacted had already been made offers by the universities adding to the urgency of the project. An additional 48% were students who had made enquiries and 8% were current students.

“The students, particularly those to whom offers have been made, are so important to us and the universities that we work with that needed to make sure that this worked,” added Pavitt.

The closure comes as part of an agreement regarding Yahoo!’s stake in China’s biggest online retailer Alibaba in May 2012. Yahoo acquired its 24% stake in Alibaba as part of a $1 billion investment made in 2005. In September 2012, Yahoo sold half of its holding for $7.1 billion before taxes.

“We’ll offer two options to our users to make this transition as smooth as possible,” confirmed a Yahoo! spokesperson. “China Yahoo! Mail users can move their email to Alibaba’s Aliyun email product [AliCloud] or another 3rd party email provider of the users choice, including Yahoo! in the United States, via IMAP/POP.”

A note from Yahoo! China tells users with e-mail address suffixes and that if they transfer their account to AliCloud they will keep receiving e-mails sent to their Yahoo address until Dec 31, 2014.

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