Yun Yun, a social search founded by former Google China executives in early 2012, has reportedly been acquired by Sina and would be merged into Sina Weibo. Liu Jun, lead of Yun Yun and former head of Google China’s Chinese-language search, has left the company and joined Baidu, the largest search service in China.
Yun Yun’s offerings include general search, real-time search, image search and a social network. The social network was suspended one month ago.
As it began with offering search results indexed from Chinese micro-blogging services, Yun Yun had reached partnership with Sina Weibo in late 2012. Mr. Liu also disclosed the company had received investment from Sina.
It is rumored that a total of 50 million yuan was raised from Sina and Zhou Hongyi, CEO of Qihoo. Due to unknown reasons, core members of the Yun Yun founding team left the company cashed out and left the company in 2012. Chen Liren, one of the founding team members, joined Pangu, a search service jointly established by China Mobile and Xinhua News Agency, as CTO.
Search is one of the six approaches Charles Chao, CEO of Sina, has touted for monetizing Sina Weibo. Sina has started monetization with the other five approaches but hasn’t with search yet. Sina representatives told me it takes time to collect user data and build algorithms to leverage them. To improve its search engine, Sina hired engineers from Baidu. Yun Yun seems a nice fit to help it improve the search service which is social.