Yahoo China Relaunched With Pure Search Focus & New Majority Owner

Yahoo China has been acquired by Alibaba.com
and relaunched as a pure search service. Here’s the rundown on the changes and
some reasons behind the handout, which still leaves Yahoo itself earning off the
site.

Back in August, Yahoo
invested $1
billion in Alibaba. That gave Yahoo a 40 percent stake in the company.

At the end of October, there was a UPI

report
that Alibaba bought up all the assets of Yahoo China for $1
billion. But I think that was reported backwards and working off the August
announcement.

If you look at the
release
of the August deal, it talks of Yahoo "contributing" Yahoo China to
Alibaba. So I think UPI had it wrong. This other

report
covers how the deal was concluded at the end of October.

Skipping ahead,
via
Shak’s China White blog,
Yahoo!
China has 8 months to better Baidu or it’s ‘game over,’ says Alibaba CEO

covers the relaunch, as does

Yahoo China back to search engine market
found
via Threadwatch.

The first article covers Alibaba feeling they’ve got about a year to have a
chance in search in China and how the more pure search site will also focus on
financial news, entertainment and sports. And political news?

I don’t want to get into trouble with the government, so I don’t do any
political news," said Ma. China requires special certification to publish
political news.

It’s not all abandoning portal features, however. Email is also being kept, as that’s seen as a key portal feature that can’t
go away.

Yahoo’s Jeremy Zawodny who is in Taiwan, heard about the move
from his cab driver and was
surprised to
see that Yahoo China has gained an MP3 search tab.

No surprise, really. China’s most popular search engine, Baidu, has
built its popularity on music search — or
some would
say illegal downloads — as I covered in my
Google’s China
Situation Better Than You Might Think — And Other China Search News
post.
The question really is, will the new Yahoo China feature music content but not
get into the same trouble Baidu’s had with music companies.

I took a fast look to see if I could find any pirated songs, but needing to
log into a Yahoo China account lost me, I’m afraid. If you have to log in, I’m
guessing pirated music is less likely.

Finally, doesn’t it seem odd for Yahoo to be handing over Yahoo China to
another company when just this week, it
bought out
control of Yahoo UK, Germany, France and Korea from Softbank?

Nah. I’m guessing it’s a handy way for Yahoo to profit off of China but get free of all
those pesky
complaints
that Yahoo bends to China’s will on political issues. Hey, we
didn’t hand that email over to the Chinese government. We didn’t censor those
news results. We didn’t filter those search results. Alibaba did — take it up
with them! Yet by owning a stake in Alibaba, Yahoo can earn money of the search
business.

As a reminder, Google
owns a stake
in four percent stake of Baidu. That gives it a bit of a hedge in case Google
China doesn’t work or the entire Yahoo keeping your distance situation — if I’m
reading that situation right — looks worthwhile to follow.

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