Type of site
|Traded as||NYSE: SOGO|
|Founded||9 August 2010|
|Owner||Tencent (42%), Sohu (36%)|
|Created by||Wang Xiaochuan (CEO)|
|Revenue||$907 million (2017)|
Sogou, Inc. is a public company, founded on 9 August 2010 by Wang Xiaochuan. It is the owner and developer of Sogou (Chinese: 搜狗; pinyin: Sōugǒu; literally: "searching dog") search engine, Sogou Input and Sogou browser. According to iResearch statistics, Sogou accounted for 16.7% of the mobile search market share in China. It is headquartered in Beijing, China. The offices of Sogou are located on the southeast corner of Tsinghua University.
Sogou listed on the New York Stock Exchange on November 9, 2017, under the ticker “SOGO”. The night before the IPO, Tencent owned 44% of the Sogou while Sohu owned 38%. In the quarter prior to the IPO, Sogou reported 55% year over year revenue growth of 55% and 22% quarter over quarter growth.
|Alexa rank||123 (July 2016[update])|
|Launched||3 August 2004|
Search engine and web applications
Sogou search engine (Sogou.com) was launched on 3 August 2004. Sogou's web application products are designed to classify online information, such as music, picture, video clip, news, map and vertical information. As of 2017, it has an index of 10 billion pages.
As of 2017, over 90% of the company's revenues are from search advertising.
In October 2017, Sogou began testing a general search engine within WeChat, which would allow all 902 million daily active users to access the internet within the app. Since 2013, Sogou has only been able to search and index contents of WeChat official accounts. On the first quarter conference call, 2018, Sogou provided an update indicating so far results in WeChat have been positive, resulting in a 30% improvement in click through rate.
Sogou Input Method
Initially released in 2006, Sogou Pinyin is the most popular Chinese input software in China. It makes use of its search engine techniques which are the analysis and categorization of the most popular words or phrases on the Internet. In 2007, Sogou won a patent infringement case against Google for copying their IME. Baidu is second with a 25.7% market share. IME data gives companies large amounts of keystroke history to improve search result accuracy. As of early 2018, the Sogou Input Method app is the third most downloaded app and commands a 70% marketshare.
Launched in December 2008, Sogou browser adopts a "dual-core" (Google Chrome's WebKit and Internet Explorer's Trident layout engines) techniques and it connects to the cloud to recognize malicious websites and software. Several websites describe Sogou Explorer as malicious adware and recommend users not to install it, since user settings are changed and URLs are sent to servers in China, without user consent, violating user privacy. The software is reported as difficult to remove.
Sogou Voice Recognition Technology
Sogou has been developing voice recognition technology since 2011. At the World Internet Conference in November 2016, CEO Wang Xiaochuan demonstrated a voice translation with both Chinese and English translation with up to 95% accuracy. There has been a rush to partner with manufacturers in connecting devices to the internet between competitors like Baidu. Google-backed AI startup Mobvoi had a deal fall through with Xiaomi's for their MiTV launch in March 2017. Xiaomi company representatives pointed to Sogou getting the business using their ASR solution with accuracy up to 97%. Sogou is currently China's largest search engine by voice, as the country moves from desktop to mobile search.
In 2017, Sogou through their Internet of Things subsidiary, sold over 1 million smartwatches in China. The GPS positioning smartwatch focuses on the child market.
On March 22, 2018, Sogou launched the Travel Translator and Travel Pen, which sold out on the first day. The company estimates it will exceed sales of their smartwatches.
Sogou Lip Recognition Technology
On 15 December 2017, Sogou debuted a lip reading program that can operate at up to 90% accuracy, beating out a similar program by Google.
Partnership with Microsoft Bing
In 2018, Sogou has expanded global presence of their other keyboard app, Typany, of which they own 100% of the company. To date, the app works with over 100 languages. The app goes with their strategy of dominating the voice recognition and language recognition market.
Along with Tencent, Sogou participated in round C and D in Zhihu.com. According to Sogou's IPO prospectus, their investment in Round C in 2015 was 4.8% of Zhihu. In 2014, Sogou launched Zhihu search and is also the default search engine on Zhihu.
In 2016, Sogou donated $30 million to Tsinghua University in a joint partnership to build an Artificial Intelligence Institute. It currently supports the Sogou Search Engine Technology Joint Laboratory at Tsinghua University. Located on the edge of the campus of Tsinghua University, Sogou strategically recruits and partners to train students from the most talented minds in China. Since 2015, Tsinghua has been ranked as the best engineering and computer science school in the world based on factors including total research output and performance.
According to the prospectus, Sogou owns 100% of Chengdu Easypay, a financial techology company specializing in micro loans. As of April 2018, Sogou is still awaiting Government approval to operate in the country. According to the company address, it is located on the 13th floor of Tencent's building in Chengdu in the High-tech zone.
Debut on NYSE
On November 9, 2017, Sogou debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, and subsequently raised $585 million offering in a bid to accelerate the use of Artificial intelligence in its business. According to the company, proceeds from the IPO will be used for research and development, sales and marketing efforts, and general corporate purposes.
- "Chinese search engine Sogou up 4% following IPO", TechCrunch, 9 November 2017
- "Sogou.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
- "Chinese 'Sogou Explorer' browser sends URLs to parts unknown". Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- "IPO of Tencent-backed Sogou part of China tech's offshore M&A push", Financial Times, 9 November 2017
- "With eye on AI, Sougou debuts on New York Stock Exchange", China Daily, 10 November 2017
- "Tencent- and Sohu-backed Chinese search-engine Sogou debuts on NYSE", Xinhuanet News, 10 November 2017
- Sogou – Official website (in Chinese)