Interesting article from the International Herald Tribune (a fine paper to read while living overseas) about how Jack MA, the CEO of Alibaba; which runs Yahoo China, intends to change the direction of Yahoo China before the company fails “amid intense competition from domestic rivals.”
Ma acknowledged Yahoo China was lagging and losing money — although he declined to give any figures. However, he said company research showed its search engine attracted more affluent, business-oriented customers, while Baidu’s users were largely students.
He said Yahoo China will seek to capitalize on its appeal with high-income users and entrepreneurs. Ma gave no details, but the changes would apparently weight search results more heavily in favor of corporate or business oriented Web sites.
Ma also didn’t say when the changes would take place at Yahoo, but said they would require major shifts in both technology and institutional culture.
There are some parallels here in the Yahoo:Google / Yahoo China:Baidu comparison, but it will be amazing to see Yahoo China redefine themselves as a business, small business, and entrepreneur driven search & tool destination.
Yahoo! has done a successful job in the United States in terms of small business hosting, commerce and tools – and the Yahoo eBay Paypal partnership in the US should only fortify that hold.
As the Chinese economy continues to grow and more & more businesses can use the web offerings to perform online business on the domestic front (Alibaba is more targeted towards the International buyers’ market), in essence, Jack Ma could dominate both business fronts in the Chinese market with a successful Yahoo China & his business resource aspirations.