Alibaba launches simpler Yahoo China

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Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, on Wednesday relaunched the China operations of US portal Yahoo with a slimmed-down website and a focus on internet search intended to challenge local market leaders Baidu.com and Google.

The relaunch is an effort by Alibaba founder and chief executive Jack Ma to stamp his strategic mark on Yahoo China.

Mr Ma said on Wednesday he had rejected Yahoo’s past approach in China of offering a wide range of search, content and communications services and was determined that the business’s managers be much more focused.

“Yahoo China is very complicated. I’m confused by it,” he said. “I just want to make it simple, very simple.”

The stress on search and Yahoo China’s new, less-cluttered main website put it in more direct competition with Baidu, the Chinese search specialist, and with global market leader Google.

Before handing control of its brand to Alibaba in August, Yahoo had sought to take on Google and Baidu with a similarly-styled simple secondary search website called Yisou.

Mr Ma said Yahoo China’s search capability needed to improve before Baidu established itself as the dominant player in China and Google established a substantial local operation.

“If we don't move fast in the next eight to 10 months, we have no chance,” he said.

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