The carrier will leave the global airline alliance on January 1, 2019, in order to fulfill its own strategies as well as thanks to the changing trends of the global aviation industry and the evolution of alliances.
China Southern and the alliance said they will work together to ensure the transition is seamless although the process will take most of 2019.
SkyTeam chief executive Kristin Colvile said: “Network has always been the foundation of SkyTeam.
"Our new value proposition retains that strong integrated network and combines it with our continued focus on improving customer experience through technology.
"China Southern has been a valued member of SkyTeam. We respect its decision and wish it well.”