Alibaba’s Global ambitions make the Yahoo! acquisition a no-brainer

There's enough analysis on why (…) it makes (or does not make) financial sense for to buy Yahoo! There's also enough thought being put to why this might, or might not transpire (…).

But there's a very simple, intuitive and emotional reason why I tweeted many months back in July (!/akumar/sta…) that either Baidu or Alibaba will acquire Yahoo – it is the right logical move for a China-based Web giant to expand out to the World; with a brand that's already pretty well-established, and well-respected globally.

All over the world, Yahoo! has done a fabulous job staying relevant locally. Abha and I have travelled extensively, and we can report that from Costa Rica, to Egypt and Israel, to India and Japan – people might know Yahoo! is a US-based company, but they still feel it understands them like a local.

This isn't a coincidence – the Yahoo! organization has traditionally been very supportive of locally-driven product development, content generation and strategic partnerships. When I was at Yahoo!, this was sometimes maddening, sometimes infuriating – but what it did mean was that the local Yahoo! sites were able to react quicker to market dynamics, and build a relationship with their audience that was closer, than if the central US team was managing everything top-down.

Meanwhile, after conquering local markets, Chinese Web companies are ready to take on the world. While companies like Huawei haven't been afraid to go direct to the West; they have had their work cut out in establishing brand awareness. What if you could own a brand that's already well-recognized, has great market share, and not have to worry about emerging local cultural sensitivities? It'd be a no-brainer!

In short, whatever the financials look like for a Yahoo!/Alibaba tie-up, it makes a whole lot of strategic sense for a company with Global ambitions.


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Google’s “Plusify” feels like Yahoo!’s Searchify initiatives (what can we learn?)

Google is heavily promoting Google+ through all distribution channels it has – from promoting it on its homepage, to integrating it into every product it has – whether it makes sense, or not.

There is a well-known recent precedent for this strategy. Just like Google finds itself outflanked by a company that has a fundamentally different product, so did Yahoo! when faced with the unrelenting rise of Google. The response was similar – unleash the entire network of owned-and-operated sites, and standalone products, to prop up the competing service – Web Search in the case of Yahoo!, Google+ for Google.

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