张朝阳 / Zhāng Cháoyáng
|Born||October 31, 1964|
|Occupation||Founder, Chairman & CEO Sohu Group|
|Net worth||US $720 million (2010) |
Charles Zhang or Zhang Chaoyang (Chinese: 张朝阳; pinyin: Zhāng Cháoyáng) (born October 31, 1964) is a Chinese businessman, investor and the Founder, Chairman and current CEO of Sohu Inc. (Chinese: 搜狐) Sohu Inc is listed to trade on NASDAQ and now has around 14,200 employees worldwide. Dr. Zhang is regarded as one of the China’s Internet pioneers and was named by Forbes magazine as one of the richest men in China in 2010.
Early life and education
Charles Zhang’s parents were residential physicians at a small arsenal near Xi'an, China. Zhang has been interested in science from a very young age. As he excelled at school, Zhang was accepted to study Physics at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing. Upon his graduation in 1986, Charles Zhang received a full scholarship from Nobel Prize Physicist Tsung-Dao Lee to attend graduate school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Zhang graduated from MIT in 1993 with a PhD in Experimental Physics. He then went on to serve as MIT's liaison officer for China.
Founding of Sohu
Soon after leaving MIT, Dr. Zhang joined Internet Securities Inc. (ISI) in November 1995 and returned to Beijing to establish the ISI China operation. While at ISI, Zhang quickly envisioned an Internet search engine company. Charles Zhang started his own company, Internet Technologies China (ITC) in 1996 with two fellow MIT Professors and with the help of venture capital. It was also the first VC funding of a Chinese Internet company. In May, 1997, after a meeting with Jerry Yang, Zhang decided to transform ITC and changed its name to Sohu.
Sohu and its search engine quickly became a household name in China. Zhang managed to successfully conducted four mergers with other Chinese Internet companies to raise capital. On July 12, 2000, Sohu was listed to trade on NASDAQ - GS. During the dotcom crash in the early 2000s, Sohu's stock dropped below $1 USD, many board members and investors wanted to replace Zhang. He credited his nonconfrontational style helped him to hold on. Today, Sohu is one of very well known Chinese Internet stocks, with a market value of around 2 billion dollars at around $45 USD/share. Internet Community Blogging and Short-messaging service, which helped the company turn around and generated total revenues of $750 million in China in 2002, accounted for 48% of company's revenues in 2004 and 2006.
In many occasions, Zhang mentions about hoping he can live till the age of 150. He believes that stress plays an important role in aging and if one practices yoga and understands Buddhism, he/she can be "freed" from stress, and so live till the age of 150. Zhang also enjoys mountaineering, he has been training on Mount Everest and has reached the height of 6,666m above sealevel, he hopes to scale the top of Everest one day.
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