China has blocked the two major Korean mobile messengers “Line” and “KakaoTalk” for more than a day since July 1. This is very unusual, especially as President Xi Jinping will visit Korea the day after, on July 3.
According to Line (Naver) and Kakao on July 2, KakaoTalk and Line services were suspended from the afternoon of July 1 into the late night of July 2.
Some analyze that this is because the Chinese government is trying to regulate mobile messengers.
A PR representative at KakaoTalk told BusinessKorea, "Pre-registered users in China can still 1:1 chat, free call and share images with existing friends on KakaoTalk, but many features such as adding new friends, the use of certain emoticons, checking notices, and Plus Friend are not accessible at this time.”
An official at Line also commented, “We have checked with our headquarters in Japan, and we found out that Line services in China were bothered. We are trying to find out the reasons in detail.”
Since this happened one day before Xi Jinping visits Korea, industry is suspicious on why China blocked the major Korean online services.
China has not allowed Facebook or Twitter at all so far, as foreign Social Network Services (SNS) cause social insecurity in the country. Therefore, some interpret this incident as China controlling Korean messengers in order to prevent any mishaps related to Xi Jinping’s visit on July 3.
The industry is investigating further to see if any other foreign messengers or SNS were blocked, other than Korea's KakaoTalk and Line.