Bringing Silicon Valley to China: Linktone
Linktone was formed in September 1999 to develop text messaging applications and content for the Chinese market. Starting as a division within Intrinsic China Technology Ltd., a Shanghai-based wireless technology company, it was spun out as an independent venture in April 2001. After two years in the market, the company saw its revenues grow, but it was not yet profitable and faced intense competition. In 2003, Raymond Yang, a successful businessman and entrepreneur in both China and Silicon Valley, California, joined Linktone as CEO. He brought some of the management style he had adopted in Silicon Valley, built a national sales network to work with local service provider offices, and sourced new products from Chinese, Japanese, and Western content providers. The mobile telecommunications market was undergoing explosive growth and constant change in China at the time, and acquisition activity was accelerating. Yang was considering an acquisition offer from China.com, a NASDAQ-traded Chinese service provider, and also the possibility of taking Linktone public on the NASDAQ.