Monday, August 18, 2008

Executives Shapeup at Chinese Internet Companies

Aug 18, Netease Tech News reports, exit turmoil is hitting many Chinese internet companies.

Just last two day, we have seen the resignation of Kong Zhong's CEO Zhou Yunfan, Focus Media's COO Chen right after their quarterly financial report. TOM Group's Tang Meijuan resigned from non-executive director soon after resigned from the CEO post. Coupled with previously outgoing Chairman of the Board of Sina, Duan Yongji, Shanda's president Tang Jun, Hurray's president Wang ShaoJian, The9's CFO Li Qiaoen, and Focus Media' CEO Xu Maodong , Dozens of executives from Chinese internet service business had quit. It has set off a firestorm of executive turmoils in the internet sector.

SP becomes the diseastrous area

On the list, we can easily find out that the SP business was hit the hardest. Network executives, including Zhou Yunfan, Tang Meijuan, Wang ShaoJian, and Xu Maodong are the confirmed heavyweights.

After going through a major nationwide rectification, many domestic businesses SPs have suffered. The company's financial performances are also girating downward with new lows being set one after the other. The existing businesses are in downturns without significant pickup in new strategic initiatives.

During the second quarter, Kong Zhong just announced it's fifth consecutive loss. Though Zhou resigned due to "personal reasons", the poor performance certainly did not help.

Tom Group also annouced it's huge loss of over 547 million Hong Kong dollars from the second quarter due to writedowns from wireless operations. Tom has also lost 297 millon Hong Kong dollars during 2007 due the the tightening from the China Mobile group. That's the reason that led analysts believed why Ms. Tang had departed.

The marriage between Hurray and Enlight Media certainly attracted the attention from domestic counterparts. However, differences in strategic directions soon led to "breakup". Though CEO Wang Qingdai denied the speculation, Wang Shaojian is believed to join a very strong company soon.

Since the CCTV "spam gate"outcry, the Focus Wireless has gone down hill. Over two thirds of employees were let go. Focus Media's vice president Ji Hai-rong has revealed that the division originally had about 300 people. Now many executives including CEO Xu Maodong hadleft.

The most celebrated departure- a servant with emperor's wage

Separation is not all depressing. On April 15, Tang Jun resigned as president of Shanda, then joined the Newhuadu Group with sky high price tag of 1 billion yuan. He is undoubtedly the most celebrated to depart in the first half of the year.

Tang Jun has a perfect professional managerial career in his past. In 2004, Tangjun gained "honorary president for life" from Microsoft before joined as president of Shanda, where he succeeded in achieving China's top servant on emperor's wage.

Now jumping from internet to traditional real estate, luck may not run with him this time around. However, in his interview with NeteaseTechnews "CEO face CEO" column, Tang confidently said that, "A few years later, I will tell you that, after three years serving Newhuadu, I still do not understand real estate. But I can run this company very well".

Contrast to those who have quitely left, Tang certainly has a shining ring on his head.

The largest mass exodus - Alibaba suffers high level shakeup

Strictly speaking, the shakeup has started during the "silent night" in 2007. It has since continued to struck the company until the first half of this year.

None of the four platforms under the Alibaba group has escaped. One after the other, COO Qi Li, CTO Wu Jiong, Sun Tongyu and senior VP Li Xuhui all departed for studying and resting overseas by June 1.

Group Sr. VP and president of Yahoo.China, Zeng Ming will become Chief Strategist. Group Sr. VP and president of Alipay will take over Taobao. Jin Jianhang will be president of Yahoo.China. Shao Xiaofeng, VP of Taobao will take over Alipay.

The high level shakeups has involved eight top guns under Alibaba's CEO Ma Yun. The size of the scale, the number of executives involved, as well as the magnitude of the reorganization are certainly historic in the internet industry and may remain so for years to come.

Who will be the next to go

Besides the change at the large internet companies, it is also noticeable at the companies that have yet to go public. Aug. 18, head of Qihoo's 360 business, Fu Sheng resigned. Founder Zhou Hongyi took over himself. Jul. 10, COO of China Healthmedia resigned after the company received cash injection from Focus Media. In June, former Yahoo.China ceo Tian Jian resigned from BONO only a few months at the job. Chinabyte's COO also left in May.

Others such as head of Tom's Eachnet are also in shaking position.

List of resigned sr. executives during 2008:

Chairman of the Board of Sina: Duan Yongji

President of Shanda Interactive: Tang Jun

President of Hurray: Wang ShaoJian

CEO of Kong Zhong: Zhou Yunfan

COO of Focus Media: Chen Chongrong

Non-executive director of TOM Group: Tang Meijuan

CFO of The9: Li Qiaoen

CEO of Focus Wireless: Xu Maodong

General manager of the Qihoo.360: Fu Sheng

President of Taobao: Sun Tongyu

Alibaba Group COO: Qi Li

Alibaba Group CTO: Wujiong

Alibaba Group senior vice president: Li Xu

COO of China Healthmedia: Chao Liming

General Manager of BONO: Tianjian

COO of Chinabyte: Wang Zheng


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