Yahoo celebrated 10 years in Taiwan by launching the “It’s You” advertising blitz on Tuesday, but executives said the US$100 million global branding campaign will skip China.
“This ad campaign won’t run in China,” said Rose Tsou, head of Yahoo’s Asia operations, at a news conference in Taipei. “Alibaba runs everything at Yahoo China. We only have an investment in the operation.”
Failing to include Yahoo China in the global “It’s You” branding campaign is yet another example of how the China operation is left out of global deals. Yahoo’s agreement to work more closely with Microsoft in Internet search earlier this year also left Yahoo China out. Executives at Yahoo in Asia have said the unique qualities of the China market, including government regulations and local tastes, make it best to let local partner Alibaba take the Yahoo brand forward there.
Yahoo obtained a 40 percent stake in Alibaba Group in 2005 in return for control over Yahoo China.
Yahoo China currently ranks as the sixth most popular Internet portal in China, according to CR-Nielsen, a joint venture Internet research company. The top portal is QQ.com, which is owned by Internet company Tencent.
Yahoo has done far better in other parts of Asia. The site ranks first in a slew of categories in Taiwan, which shares similar language and cultural ties with China, including top portal and auction site, according to Nielsen/Netratings. Yahoo Japan also ranks at the top.
China has proven tough for many U.S. companies. Baidu.com, for example, leads Internet search in China, not Google, while eBay is not the top auction site, and Yahoo China is the only U.S. brand to show up in China’s top ten portals. And it’s not run by the U.S. company.
Tsou originally ran Yahoo Taiwan as general manager in 2000. The site faced an uphill battle in Taiwan until it bought front runner Kimo.com. Yahoo continues to use Kimo’s Chinese name on its Taiwan brand.