Chinese internet companies are ready to test American investors’ appetite again. This time it involves a name less familiar to the West: Sogou.

On July 31, the NASDAQ-listed Chinese internet company Sohu.com announced that its search-focused subsidiary Sogou would make a confidential registration filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Sogou’s 39-year-old CEO Wang Xiaochuan later confirmed the news in an internal email (in Chinese), adding that the company has achieved temporary success in the search industry and will step up its artificial intelligence (AI) efforts. TechNode has verified the content of the email with Sogou.

Launched in 2004, Sogou runs three core products—software keyboards for smartphones and input software for desktops, plus a browser and search engine. The product categories make up what Wang calls the “three-stage rocket,” each of which serves as a sub-rocket that channels users to the sibling products. Over the years, Sogou has grown steadily but never reached a dominant market position except in their input products, which claim a 71.2% (in Chinese) market share as of November 2016. Still, Sogou’s plan to go for an IPO is worth paying attention to for the company’s proximity to two of China’s “BAT” trio of internet giants: Baidu and Tencent.

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Rita Liao

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.