News came that the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group would return the adopted child Yahoo! China to its birth parents in the US through a share swap as soon as this May. Former Yahoo staff said that in the rest of the year, the company would relocate to Hangzhou (headquarters of Alibaba) and focused on the public welfare programs for Alibaba. Alibaba PR director denied it.

According to a buy-back agreement signed last year, Alibaba still owns the right to run “Yahoo! China” brand for four more years, meanwhile Yahoo! China will no longer involve in any local investment deals done by the parent company, says a statement by Alibaba in response to the news.

We haven’t heard about anything about Yahoo! China for a long time. Since 2012, Alibaba has undergone two rounds of restructuring, finally settled to 25 business groups and, during which Yahoo! China was not even mentioned. Actually this could be due to the sluggish development of Yahoo! China in the eight years of the adoption. Alibaba first took the company in 2005 when the new baby still had a staff of over 600, running many businesses like mails, search, portal and instant message. At that time, Jack Ma even laid hope on it being the a Local Search, and the E-commerce Champion with an independent IPO. Of all the dreams he had, the one to conquer China’s e-commerce territory has finally realized, but just without Yahoo! China’s participation.

In the past years with Alibaba, Yahoo! China once tried to shift its focus from portal to searching, but did not seem to work well and even had to have it cancelled in 2008. Later on, its search business VP Zhang Yifen moved to Alibaba and helped the e-commerce giant level up its searching services. When searching has gradually become the key in generating Taobao’s revenues, and a strategic business for the whole group, Yahoo! China had already quit searching for a better way to continue this business. Currently Yahoo! China is a news portal, with a group of 200 staff. Apart from its news service, what else you can see there is, probably more news and information. Many of the products it once offered have disappeared and some still remained like Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Messenger are well hidden in the page.

image credit:

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)

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.