Yahoo China back to search engine market
By Li Weitao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-10 06:08
Yahoo China, which has been acquired by Chinese e-commerce company
Alibaba.com, is refocusing on the search engine business to tap into a
fast-growing and lucrative market.
Jack Ma, Alibaba's
founder and chairman (center) launched Yahoo! China's new online search
service. Alibaba.com Inc announced yesterday in Beijing it would redesign
Yahoo! China's Webpage to focus on searches to compete with rivals
Baidu.com Inc and Google Inc. [Xinhua]
Ma Yun, chairman and chief executive officer of Alibaba, said the top
priority for Yahoo in China is to build the best search engine for the Chinese
community instead of an Internet portal like NASDAQ-listed Sina Corp and
"From today onwards, in China Yahoo means a search engine and a search engine
means Yahoo," Ma said yesterday.
Yahoo, since entering China, has made several amendments to its strategy.
The US Internet giant had originally focused on the search engine business
since entering China seven years ago, but it has been swaying between the search
engine, advertising, and the portal before transferring China operations to
Alibaba in August along with paying US$1 billion for a 40-per-cent stake in
Ma said that Yahoo needs to return to the search engine market since it
promises the biggest opportunity.
"We have received all the cash (of US$1 billion) from Yahoo and most of the
money will be invested in the search engine business," he said.
Yahoo has moved more than 2,000 computer servers from the United States to
Beijing as part of its localization efforts in the search engine market in
Ma expects another 5,000 servers to be moved to China next year.
Yahoo can now search 1 billion Chinese-language web pages, compared to 250
million before the acquisition, Ma added.
The refocus on the search engine business underlines a growing desire by
Alibaba to build an Internet empire in the Chinese community.
Alibaba already has more than 9 million registered users in the B2B (business
to business) e-commerce sector.
And Taobao.com, an online auction house operated by Alibaba, now has more
than 11 million registered users.
Ma hoped Alibaba's leading advantage in the e-commerce sector can be combined
with Yahoo's search engine, which could give a big boost to the firm's business
"The search engine offering will be crucial to the development of the
e-commerce sector," he said.
Additionally, the e-mail, instant messaging and online payment services
offered by Yahoo will also be a big attraction for Chinese Internet users.
The competitiveness in China's search engine market has been intensifying
this year with Microsoft setting up a technical centre for Internet search and
Google formally launching its China operations.
According to the Shanghai-based research house iResearch, NASDAQ-listed
Baidu.com was the largest search engine provider in China, controlling 37.4 per
cent of the market in the first quarter of this year.
Yahoo, combined with 3721.com and Yisou.com, both owned by Alibaba, had a
32.2 per cent share, followed by Google with a 19.1 per cent share.
(China Daily 11/10/2005 page10)