Yahoo! announced Thursday it has bought Beijing-based Ztelic Technology, a company specializing in analyzing data from social websites, but did not disclose the price of the deal.
Ztelic Technology, which offers services such as social-network-based hiring, online network management and third-party data analysis, was founded by former Yahoo! US senior web architect Zheng Hao.
Zheng was once the chief web architect for Yahoo!'s global R&D institute in Beijing, as well as the chief technology officer at online game-maker Zynga. After Yahoo!'s purchase, he will serve as the vice president of Yahoo!'s Beijing research center.
"We will join Yahoo!'s worldwide first-class talent team, and we expect to bring our technologies and experiences in big data analytics, personalization and mobile services to Yahoo! products and its 700 million customers," Ztelic Technology said in a statement posted Thursday on its website.
The company said that it would close down some of its own services after the purchase.
The Ztelic Technology deal is the 18th purchase that Yahoo! has made since its current CEO, Marissa Mayer, was appointed in July 2012, and it is reportedly the first time that Yahoo! has bought a foreign firm since Mayer took the reins.
"The purchase of Ztelic Technology will improve the Beijing global R&D center's capability for innovation in the personalization arena," Zhang Chen, president of the Yahoo! research institute, was quoted as saying in a statement e-mailed to the Global Times Thursday.
Analysts contacted by the Global Times said that Yahoo! bought Ztelic Technology because it was eager to take advantage of China's abundant social networking data so as to improve its advertising service.
"Social network data analysis has always been Yahoo!'s weakness. The company now has a China-focused data analysis company under its arm, so it will be able to collect users' information and post more targeted advertisements to better serve its clients," said Yang Xuebin, an analyst at Beijing-based Internet market research company iResearch.
Wang Jun, a senior analyst from Analysys International, echoed Yang's opinion, adding that big data analytics based on social networking websites is something that major Internet companies are taking advantage of, and Yahoo! is just following the trend.
"Big data analytics helps Internet companies design customized products based on accurate analysis and estimation of their customers' behaviors," he told the Global Times Thursday. "Yahoo! has been aiming to improve its research capabilities in this field."
However, Ma Jihua, an industry expert at Beijing Daojing Consultant Co, told the Global Times Thursday that buying Ztelic Technology is just "copying" a trend and will not fundamentally help the troubled Yahoo!, whose major task now should be making its own signature product and cashing in on that.