Jerry Yang (entrepreneur)

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Jerry Yang
File:Jerry Yang.jpg
Jerry Yang
Born November 6, 1968 (1968-11-06) (age 52)
Taipei, Taiwan
Occupation Co-founder, former CEO, Chief Yahoo, Yahoo! Inc
Salary $250,000.00 [1][2]
Net worth US$2.3 billion (2008) [3]
Spouse(s) Akiko Yamazaki

Jerry Yang (simplified Chinese: 杨致远traditional Chinese: 楊致遠pinyin: Yáng Zhìyuǎn; born November 6, 1968) is a Chinese American[4] entrepreneur and the co-founder, former CEO (Chief Yahoo) of Yahoo! Inc.


Early life

Born in Taipei, Taiwan on November 6, 1968, Yang moved to San Jose, California at the age of eight, with his mother and brother. His father died when Yang was two. He claimed that despite his mother being an English teacher, he only knew one English word (shoe) on his arrival. Mastering the English language in three years, he was placed into an AP English class.[5]

Yang graduated from Sierramont Middle School, and Piedmont Hills High School, then went on to receive his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.


While he studied in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, he co-created in April 1994 with David Filo an Internet website consisting of a directory of other websites called "Jerry and Dave's Guide to the World Wide Web". It was renamed "Yahoo!" (an exclamation). Yahoo became very popular, Yang and Filo realized the business potential and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995.[6] They took a leave of absence and postponed their doctoral programs indefinitely.

Yahoo! started off as a web portal with a web directory providing an extensive range of products and services for online activities. It is now one of the leading internet brands and has the most trafficked network on the internet.[citation needed]

On November 17, 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported that Jerry Yang would step down as CEO as soon as the company found a replacement. He had been criticized by many investors, including Carl Icahn, for not increasing revenues and the Yahoo! stock price.[7]

On January 13, 2009, Yahoo! named Silicon Valley veteran Carol Bartz as its new chief executive, effectively replacing Yang.[8] Yang regained his former position as "Chief Yahoo" and remains on Yahoo's board of directors.[9]

Personal life

Yang is married to Akiko Yamazaki, who was raised in Costa Rica. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in industrial engineering. The couple met at the Stanford University in Kyoto overseas program in 1992.

Yang is currently on the Board of Directors of Alibaba, the Asian Pacific Fund, Cisco and Yahoo! Japan, and is also on the Stanford University Board of Trustees.[10]


In February 2007, Jerry Yang and his wife gave USD $75 million to Stanford University, their alma mater, the bulk of which went to building the "Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building".[11] The building, nicknamed Y2E2, was designed by Boora Architects of Portland, Oregon, and constructed by Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company of San Francisco, California. It is a multi-disciplinary research, teaching and lab building, the first to be realized on Stanford's new Science and Engineering Quad.



Jerry Yang was criticized for a statement regarding the role of Yahoo! in the arrest of mainland Chinese journalist Shi Tao by Chinese authorities.

While in China, Shi Tao used a Yahoo email address to notify a pro-democracy website that the Chinese government ordered the Chinese media not to cover the fifteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 on June 4. Yahoo! provided the Chinese security agencies with the IP addresses of the senders, the recipients and the time of the message. Tao was subsequently convicted for "divulging state secrets abroad." Yang was heavily criticized and Reporters Without Borders called Yahoo! "a Chinese police informant" whose actions led to the conviction of a journalist and writer.

Jerry Yang declared, "To be doing business in China, or anywhere else in the world, we have to comply with local law[s]." This was controversial, as critics claimed Yahoo! violated international law as well as a 1989 decision by the U.S. Congress to prohibit U.S. companies from selling "crime control and detection" equipment or software to the Chinese Government.[12]

The New York Times reported that political prisoner Wang Xiaoning and other journalists had brought a civil suit against Yahoo for allegedly aiding and abetting the Chinese government which, it was claimed, resulted in torture that included beatings and imprisonment.[13]

More recently Jerry Yang was summoned to Washington to answer for Yahoo's comments regarding its role in the arrests of Shi Tao and other journalists in China.[14][15]

On November 14, 2007, Yahoo agreed to settle with affected Chinese dissidents, paying them undisclosed compensation. Yang stated, "After meeting with the families, it was clear to me what we had to do to make this right for them, for Yahoo, and for the future." In response, Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos, chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, stated, "It took a tongue-lashing from Congress before these high-tech titans did the right thing and coughed up some concrete assistance for the family of a journalist whom Yahoo had helped send to jail. What a disgrace."[16]

Jerry Yang wrote a letter to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requesting her assistance in freeing the jailed dissidents.[17] In addition, Yang established the Yahoo! Human Rights Fund, a fund to provide "humanitarian and legal support" to online dissidents.[18] One of the first public projects of the fund was financing the establishment of the Laogai Museum, a museum opened by noted Chinese dissident Harry Wu to showcase China's laogai penal system.[19]

This change of heart has not been able to stop the chain of events that began with the arrest of jailed dissident Li Zhi, which resulted in another lawsuit being filed against Yahoo on behalf of Plaintiffs Zheng Cunzhu and Guo Quan who allege the loss of property and a garment business. The complaint alleges, "violation of international law including torture and prolonged detention, as well as unfair business practices, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and assault."[20]


Yang was also criticized by shareholders for rejecting an offer of $33 a share from Microsoft in May 2008 - Microsoft subsequently walked away from the negotiations. In November 2008 the shares were valued at only $14 [4] and Google also decided not to proceed with commercial search advertising arrangements under negotiation influenced by the concerns voiced by the US authorities regarding the effect on competition in the market. On July 29, 2009, Yahoo! and Microsoft announced a search deal to compete against Google, after the Bing search of Microsoft was successfully launched earlier in June.


  1. 10-Q Watch: Yahoo's Acquisitions; Yang Salary |
  2. Yahoo! Executives Compensation
  3. #524 Jerry Yang -
  4. Gerstein, Josh (2005-09-15), "Yahoo Flap in China May Be Harbinger", The New York Sun,, retrieved 2009-06-04 : During an Internet conference last year, Mr. Yang was asked about Yahoo's business in China. He immediately mentioned his roots. "I'm a Chinese American, and I don't think that gives me a special privilege to say what I'm about to say," Mr. Yang began.
  5. Schlender, Brent (2000-03-06). "How A Virtuoso Plays The Web Eclectic, inquisitive, and academic, Yahoo's Jerry Yang reinvents the role of the entrepreneur.". Fortune. Cable News Network. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  6. Yahoo! Inc. - Company History
  7. Yang to Step Down as Yahoo CEO, The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2008
  8. [1], BBC News, January 14, 2009
  9. Michael Liedtke (2008-11-18). "Yahoo! to Replace Yang as CEO". Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  10. Yahoo! Inc. - Management Team; for the website of the Asian Pacific Fund, see: [2]
  12. Xue Li: Human Rights Lawyer Questions Yahoo!'s Aid to China in Arresting a Journalist,Epoch Times, Sep 23, 2005
    Obeying Orders, Washington Post, September 18, 2005
  13. Chinese political prisoner sues in U.S. court, New York Times, April 18, 2007
    Chinese political
  14. Yahoo summoned to Washington over Chinese arrests,c/net news blog, Oct 16, 2007
  15. Boudreau, John (2007-11-07). "Lawmaker scolds Yahoo: 'Morally you are pygmies'". Mercury News. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  16. Kopytoff, Verne (2007-11-14). "Yahoo settles with jailed Chinese journalists". SFGate. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  17. "Rice presses China on jailed dissidents". International Herald Tribune. 2007-02-27. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  18. "Press Release: Yahoo! Inc Reaches Settlement On Lawsuit Works To Establish Human Rights Fund". Yahoo!. Retrieved 12 December 2008. 
  19. Fowler, Geoffrey A (12 November 2008). "Yahoo-Sponsored Chinese Human Rights Museum Opens in Washington". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 December 2008. 
  20. Mills, Elinor (2007-02-27). "Yahoo sued by jailed dissidents again". CNET News. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 

External links

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