Jerry Yang

Jerry Chih-Yuan Yang (traditional Chinese: 楊致遠; simplified Chinese: 杨致远; pinyin: Yáng Zhìyuǎn; born November 6, 1968) is a Taiwanese American entrepreneur, co-founder with David Filo and CEO of Yahoo! Inc. He is also one of the two Chief Yahoo!s and board director of the company. As of 2007 his net worth is estimated to be US$2.2 billion and is ranked 432nd among the world's richest people according to Forbes.

Early life

Born in the capital city of Taipei, Taiwan on November 6, 1968, Yang moved to San Jose, California at the age of ten, with his mother and brother. His father had 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 only three years, he was soon[citation needed] placed into an AP English class.

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's Guide to the World Wide Web". It was renamed Yahoo, a backronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle", but Yang and Filo insist they selected the name because they liked the general definition of a yahoo: "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth". Yahoo became very popular, Yang and Filo realized the business potential and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995. They took a leave of absence and postponed their doctoral programs indefinitely.

Yahoo! started off as a web portal with a web directory to 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

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 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.

In February 2007, Jerry Yang and his wife pledged USD $75 million to Stanford University, their alma mater, the bulk of which would be dedicated to the building of a new environmental building on campus.

Jerry Yang was criticised for his statement regarding the role of Yahoo! in the arrest of Shi Tao by Chinese authorities.

Shi Tao was convicted for “divulging state secrets abroad” after he used a Yahoo! e-mail address to send a report declaring that the Chinese media was ordered not to cover the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 on June 4th to a pro-democracy Web site run by a Chinese emigre in New York.

Yahoo! was criticised for providing the Chinese security agencies with the IP addresses of the senders, the recipients and the time of the message. Reporters Without Borders called Yahoo! “a Chinese police informant” whose shameful behavior led to the conviction of a reputable 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.

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

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


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