A leaked report from a headhunter revealed that in the past year Qihoo 360 has been luring away talents in areas like security, browsers and mobile from its peers. This would testify the rumor that the online security safeguard was seeking to build its own search engine.

According to the report, the headhunter altogether has reached out to 292 people on behalf of Qihoo, while 109 of which were from Qihoo’s competitors. Looking into them by professions, we can understand what Qihoo is looking to work on. Out of the 109 being approached by the headhunter, 60 are developers (36 on client, 7 on mobile), 26 work on security(19 for PC, 7 for mobile), and 13 focus on products, 4 on data applications, and another 6 on others.

The report also listed out 8 competitors of Qihoo360, including Trendmicro, Kingsoft, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Maxthon and Sohu.

The Barrier: Non-compete Agreement

It seems that the biggest barrier for the poaching mission is the non-compete agreement. For instance, if people who have signed up such agreement jump to Qihoo360, they’ll lose their stock option issued by former employer. One of the reasons why some of the olive branches were turned down.

Working situation is another factor that deters people from getting on board. Reportedly, some people aren’t so happy about the workload of Qihoo360.

The Card is still Security 

It make sense for Qihoo to go after these three areas, namely security, browser and mobile.

The keyword for Qihoo 360 has always been and still will be “Security”. The company’s fundamental business model is to promote the browser with the help of its security products, and then generate traffic and revenue through the browser. The leaked report shows that Qihoo’s main focus remains security. That’s the groundwork for the Beijing-based company. With that under the belt, Qihoo even had the guts to rival Tencent among other competitors last year in the infamous 3Q war.

Aided by desktop security offerings, Qihoo’s browser which resorts to security ranked No.2 in the market with a share of more than 27% according to a CNZZ report, only next to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Currently, vast majority of Qihoo’s revenue was generated through the browser.

As for mobile, nobody is bold enough to ignore the shift from desktop to mobile, Qihoo360 has not yet built up any advantages in this area but surely has been increasing the input.

动点科技驻湾区记者. Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at) technode.com

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