China’s Ministry of Information and Industry Technology (MIIT) has called for a crackdown on illegal internet telephone services, also known as VoIP or voice over internet protocol services.
This could mean that Skype, which allows users to talk to one another using the internet in a variety of ways (PC-to-PC, phone-to-PC or phone-to-phone), may die in China.
Skype, partly owned by web retailer eBay, has been growing in popularity.
The MIIT circular did not specifically name any companies, and stopped short of precisely specifying "illegal" services.
Xi Guohua, a vice-minister at the MIIT, told the Beijing Morning Post only the three state-owned Chinese telecommunications operators are licensed to provide services that link computers to phones.
He clarified that communications between computers (PC-to-PC links) remain open to all service providers in China.
MWC News reports that representatives from Skype have said their service remains operational.