Yahoo has announced that it plans to acquire 10% of the shares which are being offered by Alibaba.com in an IPO which is expected to raise $1 Billion. Yahoo already owns 40% of Alibaba, and Alibaba owns 100% of Yahoo China… which can get complicated.
To make everything a bit more complicated, the company which owns most of Alibaba.com and Yahoo China, is Yahoo Japan.
Yahoo Japan’s parent company, Softbank, which owns Yahoo Japan, Overture Japan and Vodafone Japan, also used to control most of Yahoo Europe and Yahoo Korea, before the company bought those properties from Softbank.
The Yahoo company has been slowly buying control, or partial investments, in its International properties over the past couple of years to unify product launches such as Yahoo Answers, Yahoo Search and Yahoo Search Marketing.
Unlike Google, Yahoo’s International properties are owned and managed by local companies and investors in each country or region, which is one reason Yahoo has dominated in Asia. Yahoo’s local properties can launch new products or make structural changes which benefit and fill needs in each culture.
Google on the other hand, makes most of its decisions on a global scale while building its global brand, then partners with localized companies like Friendster (Philippenes and Indonesia) or Biglobe & KDDI (Japan) to enter foreign markets via AdWords partnerships.