China’s Sohu.com Cuts 126

[ASIA] China portal Sohu.com (Nasdaq:SOHU) will cut 126 jobs and lose its chief
operating officer, the company confirmed Monday.

Calling the move strengthening “through structural consolidation,” Sohu.com’s said in a statement
that the company’s headcount will be reduced by 20 percent over the next 60 days, from 641 to
515. The positions terminated were labeled redundancies resulting from the acquisition of
ChinaRen.com in September, and would affect mostly content production and administrative
departments, the statement said. However, reports just prior to the close of the all-stock deal
indicated that only 66, or one-third of ChinaRen’s total staff, would be eliminated.

Leaving with the involuntarily unemployed is chief operating officer Alan Li, who will pursue a
Ph.D., the statement said. Li joins Sohu chief financial officer Tom Gurnee, who announced
October 30 that he would be stepping down to rejoin his family in the United States.

Despite its early entrance into the China market, and the pioneer status of founder and chief
executive officer Charles Zhang Chaoyang, Sohu has been battered in recent months by doubts
about the sustainability of its portal business model. A Sohu spokesperson confirmed last week
that total advertising revenue year-to-date of $3.77 million, as of September 30. Emphasizing the
company’s need to generate revenue, Zhang referred to himself as “chief monetization officer”
during a panel discussion at Internet World Hong Kong in November.

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