Skype’s Partner Says It Is Legal in China

TOM Group, which partially owns ’s operations in China, says that despite a government decree outlawing services, is still operating legally in the country. From ABC News:

The comments from TOM Group, which is 51 percent owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, came as potential investors in Skype’s planned $1 billion initial public offering year fret that any ban on Internet telephone services in China could exclude the company from of the world’s largest Internet market.

“The operation of Skype in China is compliant with local laws and regulations,” a TOM Group spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday. “Currently, it is business as usual while service provision stays normal.”

The Ministry of Information and Industry Technology called in a notice on December 10 for a crackdown “on illegal VoIP telephone services” and said it was collecting evidence for legal cases against them. It did not identify any companies.

While that could affect VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) services such as Skype, and privately owned UUCall and Heyyo!, analysts said it was far from clear what companies were being targeted or how strictly authorities would enforce any limits.

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