Zoom Video Communications told customers in mainland China on Monday that it was cutting off direct sales and will only be selling online videoconferencing services in the country through authorized third-party partners.
Removing direct sales support in China is thought to be a step away from its relationship to the country in which the company has come under fire this year. Zoom said in 2020 that it had mistakenly routed some video meeting traffic through servers in China, which spurred backlash for the firm by several government agencies and companies over fears of Chinese surveillance.
The move to a partner-only selling model in China, which will go into effect August 23, was confirmed to CRN USA by a Zoom spokesperson.
The change will allow business customers to buy Zoom services embedded in solution provider offerings, which will mean stronger services and better local support, Zoom said in a statement on its website to Chinese customers.
“Our go-to-market model in Mainland China has included direct sales, online subscription, and sales through partners,“ according to a statement from a Zoom spokesperson to CRN. ”We informed our customers that this will take effect August 23, 2020 and recommended several authorized partners to them. Users in Mainland China may continue to join Zoom meetings as participants.”
Zoom also suspended the online subscription model for its China-based services in June.
The firm has pointed Chinese customers to several authorized partners, including local video conferencing service provider Bizconf, Zhumu.com and Umeet.
Zoom is no stranger to security and data privacy concerns around its easy-to-use, cloud-based video service. Business users, students, and consumers flocked to Zoom as the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year to work, learn, and socialize virtually, which created a surge in Zoom user traffic globally. Not long after, the company came under fire as teleworking and online classroom hijackings - dubbed “zoombombing,” were being reported.
The videoconferencing provider in March announced a 90-day security enhancement plan to boost the security of its offerings, address data privacy concerns for customers and partners, and build user trust. Zoom in April announced version 5.0 of its video conferencing platform, which included support for AES 256-bit GCM encryption, a single, easy-to-use icon that contains all security features, and the ability to report users for inappropriate conduct.
Zoom’s stock was up 6.27 percent on Monday to US$269.82.