Yahoo! Launches Yisou

In another sign that U.S. search players place high value on the Chinese market, Yahoo has launched Yisou.com, its new search portal, just weeks after Google’s investment in Chinese search site Baidu.com.

Yisou, which means “No. 1 search” in English, is powered by Yahoo’s proprietary search technology. The company made its plans for international expansion clear in its most recent earnings report. Among other overseas properties, Yahoo already owns Hong Kong-based 3721 Network Software, purchased in November 2003 for $120 million. It also has a Chinese-language version of Yahoo at cn.yahoo.com.

Yahoo’s new Chinese portal will provide access to other Yahoo services including Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger and Internet Helper, the company said.

The acquisition comes on the heels of Google’s acquisition of a minority stake in Baidu.com. The search giants are competing for the enviable Chinese market. China has 95.8 million Internet users, according to the Computer Industry Almanac.

Yahoo has been focused on building out its global search platform, the company said. Yahoo Search Technology, the company’s proprietary search engine, is now deployed in 22 of its 23 regions, according to the company. Yahoo said its search technology powers nearly half of all online searches and provides results in 36 languages.

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