Without a question I see that in the future, more Chinese companies will become even more global.”
co-founder and former CEO of the boards of Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.
Yang’s legacy of business acumen and investment vision, especially his decision to have Yahoo invest in Yahoo Japan and China’s e-commerce pioneer Alibaba lives on. Yang authorized a $1 billion investment in Alibaba in 2005, when the e-commerce company was in its early stages.
This past September, Alibaba had the most successful IPO in US stock market history by raising $25 billion.Yahoo’s appreciating 40% stake of Alibaba helped drive up its stock price to about $48 per share by December, partially because of Yang’s prescient investment.
Yahoo still retains a 22% stake in Alibaba that is worth more than $35 billion and accounts for most of Yahoo’s current market value (approximately $42 billion). In 2012, Alibaba founder Jack Ma pressured Yahoo into selling a portion of the Alibaba shares, which netted the California-based company $7.6 billion.
“Personally, investing in an entrepreneur like Jack Ma and his leadership team was the key to the success,” said Yang, who recently rejoined the Alibaba Board of Directors.
“I’m very excited to be part of the Alibaba Board of Directors, to help them achieve their potential in the next phase.” On innovation in China
Yang said that in the past few years, there has been a significant increase in innovation by Chinese companies. While it used to be that Chinese companies were “fast followers”, now there is a lot more innovation and leadership.
“I no longer see it as ‘catching up’ — rather, Chinese entrepreneurs are focusing on the massive domestic Chinese market and are innovating accordingly,” said Yang. It is more of a parallel innovation track, whereby Chinese companies can take advantage of a large merchant base, growth in third- and fourth-tier cities, mobile and commerce, and a continued manufacturing advantage, he said.