Sunday, 2024 July 21

Sogou founder Wang Xiaochuan steps down as CEO following acquisition by Tencent

Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of China’s second-largest search engine, Sogou, is stepping down from his role after 17 years of being in charge of the company.

In an internal letter shared with Sogou employees on Friday, Wang announced that Sogou and Tencent have officially completed their merger. Wang will step down as CEO from October 15. Tencent’s vice president, Yin Yu, will take over as the head of Sogou’s business units. Wang will provide consulting services to Tencent Group after the transition.

Wang also indicated that he might start a second career in the medical field. “In the last 20 years, life sciences have been lingering in my heart and curiosity. In the next 20 years, my life would be more meaningful if I can be a part of the development of life sciences and medicine to make a contribution to public health,” Wang said in his letter.

In recent years, Wang Xiaochuan led Sogou to make several investments in the medtech and health tech sector, including telemedicine platform Chunyu Doctor and traditional Chinese medicine consultancy service Xiaolu Chinese Medicine.

Sogou is now an indirect subsidiary of Tencent. Sogou’s business and products will be integrated into divisions that are part of Tencent’s Platform and Content Group. These include Sogou’s search engine, AI services, input method, browser, reader, and other products.

However, search engine and input method products—the most popular Sogou products—will continue to operate under the Sogou brand. All employees of Sogou will join Tencent, according to the letter.

Sogou announced its merger with Tencent on September 24. As a result of the deal, Sohu, which was the controlling shareholder of Sogou, received USD 1.18 billion in cash from Tencent. Sohu no longer holds any ownership interest in the company.

The USD 3.5 billion transaction was originally due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, but was delayed due to regulatory screening.

Mengyuan Ge
Mengyuan Ge
Mengyuan Ge is a passionate tech reporter of 36Kr Global in Beijing. She covers market trends, start-ups as well as big-techs in China.

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