26 May 2011

Marvin Liao: "In a couple of years Russia will be the most attractive market in Europe"

On May 25, an open lecture was given in Moscow by a Yahoo "veteran" Marvin Liao, who has been working as Commercial Director in the direction Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) since March 2011. During the meeting organized by the Internet Industry Management Program Marvin presented the Yahoo's experience on overcoming the crisis of the mid 2000s, told how the decision to become partners with Microsoft was made, presented the current financial results of the company, and shared his opinion about the attractiveness of the Russian market.

"In 2006-07, we faced the recession: Yahoo invested in a huge number of projects, fought on several fronts simultaneously: search engine, content, e-commerce, travel, job search, etc. The audience was growing, but we had a lot of problems as a business," Liao says. With the new CEO the company focused on becoming a leading content provider, abandoning the non-core business areas and a number of services.

The first reduction of resources affected the Yahoo search engine. "Though Yahoo began with a search engine, in mid 2000s we faced the following situation: Google and Microsoft spent billions to increase the audience of the search services, we spent only $500 million a year. I must say that we do not regret a partnership with Microsoft, as Yahoo gets 80% of revenue, and the money goes to develop key areas of our business."

The company has aimed at creating and distributing the content. Yahoo entered into partnership with leading publishing houses and agencies, such as Associated Press and Wall Street Journal, have bought a network of amateur authors whose articles are being published both in the financial and sports Yahoo portals on equal terms with editorial ones. Moreover, the Internet giant decided to abandon the practice of using different platforms in different countries and began to promote a single platform. As a result, currently the company's revenues are increased by 20% in a quarter.

Answering questions of the participants of the open lecture, Liao noted the high potential of the Russian market: "The global Internet is dominated by English, Chinese and Cyrillic segments, and localization of services for the last two of them is very complicated. So, while Western companies were hesitating, local leaders appeared in Russia and China. But I can still see some vacant niches in your market. Facebook, Google, Yahoo place high hopes on Russia and invest money in this market, and I am sure they will spread here. Look, the Internet advertising market in Russia is already making about $ 1 billion a year. I believe, in a couple of years, your Internet market will be the largest and the most attractive in Europe."

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