Jerry Yang explains his mingling strategy

You never know who you will meet at the luggage carousel.

Yahoo's decision to invest in Chinese Internet property Alibaba.com, rather than try to take on Alibaba and others directly, is paying off, said Yahoo founder Jerry Yang at the 2007 HYSTA (Hua Yuan Science and Technology Association) in San Jose yesterday.

"Our move to partner with Alibaba and become a shareholder has proved to be the right strategy," he said.

Yang also clarified how he met Alibaba CEO Jack Ma. The general story is that Yang met Ma when they got paired together at the HYSTA golf tournament a few years ago.

Not true. Yang met Ma on his first trip to China in 1997. Ma was the government representative for the technology ministry and went to the airport to greet the Yahoo founder.

The two also didn't golf together. Instead, Yang ended up golfing with Robin Li, the CEO of Baidu, the Chinese search giant that has emerged as a formidable competitor to both Yahoo and Google.

On other notes, Yang and Qi Lu, senior VP of engineering at Yahoo, also touted Yahoo Answers, in which individuals volunteer answers to questions. "It's a whole new world beyond index search," Yang said.

It's been a big hit for Naver in South Korea and Yahoo Taiwan. The service is growing in the U.S. as well.

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