The Jike Chinese search engine, known as the Chinese Google, and affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, has recently gone bankrupt. Its total investment in the past two years amounted to 2 billion yuan (US$328,280,000). The network has stopped operations, and the offices have been vacated.
In the end, Jike only had 1/10,000 of the market share, with most netizens having never heard of Jike. The company was led by former table tennis champion Deng Yaping, who disappeared after the bankruptcy. Some netizens believe that Deng knew nothing about the search engine industry or business marketing, and that the failure was expected.
After Google exited Mainland China in 2010, the People’s Daily state-run newspaper set up www.jike.com (formerly known as Goso.cn) that same year. Deng served as CEO. During an interview in 2011, she told the media that she believed “the stage is as large as your heart”. She admired the success of Apple’s founder Steve Jobs. “He has a large heart, and so the products he designed are a global phenomenon.”
Deng later invited Liu Chun, former assistant dean of the Google China Engineering Research Institute, to serve as chief scientist at Jike. She tried to increase the website’s popularity by launching unique features, including one related to food safety issues.
But the company lost money constantly. Some netizens left messages last month on China’s Weibo microblog reporting that Jike offices in Beijing had been left vacant and were filled with debris, making it another “several-billion dollar boondoggle.”
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