Yahoo China president Xie Wen shocked the online industry by resigning after only 40 days on the job. Mr Xie, who was chief executive of Chinese online community site Hexun.com before joining Yahoo China, decided to quit for personal reasons, the company said yesterday. He had joined Yahoo China on October 17. 'Xie Wen has his own foresighted views on the development of the internet in China,' said Jack Ma, the chief executive of Alibaba, which owns Yahoo China. 'Although he has worked for Yahoo China for only a short time, our team is deeply impressed with his passion and noble character.' Yahoo China was absorbed by Alibaba last year when Yahoo bought a 40 per cent stake for US$1 billion. Right after the takeover, Mr Ma tried to brand Yahoo China as a search engine to compete with Baidu and Google. So far, it remains a distant third, with 12.9 per cent market share by revenue, compared with 56 per cent for Baidu, according to Beijing-based market research firm Analysys' third-quarter survey. Since then, Yahoo China has switched back to a more portal-based format, further adding to confusion as to what its identity is. One year ago, Mr Xie left Hexun also for personal reasons and started to pitch the merits of web 2.0, typified by sites such as YouTube and MySpace. His hiring by Mr Ma was viewed by the industry as a move by Yahoo China into the online community. 'Mr Xie is a strong character who wants to do what he likes. However, the Yahoo headquarters wants its China division to stay on the course of developing its search engine. That is the major reason why Mr Xie resigned,' said an analyst who did not want to be named. 'The two, Jack Ma and Xie Wen, went to the US. When they returned, Mr Xie resigned,' the analyst said. Mr Xie will become a strategic adviser to Alibaba, while Yahoo China's head of strategy development, Zeng Ming, will serve as acting president, the company said. Recently, Yahoo China launched a marketing campaign to change people's perception that Baidu is better at Chinese searches. It offers the top three search results from Baidu, Google and Yahoo China and asks players to guess which search engine provided them. 'It is the right move,' the analyst said.