Yahoo China Goes Vertical

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Alibaba CEO Jack Ma plans to remake Yahoo China into a more business-focused vertical search engine.

Ma will do this instead of trying to battle with sites like Baidu, a more general search site that ranks as the leader in China. The environment has become fiercely competitive, and rather than try to overcome Baidu, Ma will shift Yahoo China to a different arena.

An AP report cited Ma’s observations of Yahoo China’s place in search, one where it is lagging behind Baidu and Google, and losing money too.

“If Yahoo is going to win, it has to do so in a new way,” he said in the report. “What’s the point of building another Sina.com?”

Ma feels Yahoo China has appeal to “high-income users and entrepreneurs,” while Baidu appeals to students, who are not exactly legendary for their high income levels.

He hasn’t provided details on when or what Yahoo China would change to fulfill a shift to business-to-business customers. Ma’s strategy does mirror efforts of companies in the US that have similar aims in dealing with businesses rather than consumers as primary customers.

“We don’t want those not interested in business or making money. They can go to Baidu,” he said in the report. “Our main focus is the high-end.”

That high-end will come out of a growing Internet userbase. It is thought by investment firm Piper Jaffray that 123 million Chinese users will do 816 million searches per day through 2007, and generate search ad revenue of $1 billion through the year.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Yahoo China Goes Vertical
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