Yan is worth an estimated $1.5 billion U.S. based on his 20.8 percent stake in Shanghai-based 51job — whose market cap has risen from $4bn U.S. to close to $7bn since the start of 2018. Its American depositary receipts have soared more than 80 percent this year, fuelled by surging revenue.
Yan, 55, was an initial investor in 51job and joined the company as CEO in 2000. He previously worked at Bain & Co. for 11 years, where he set up the firm’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices, according to a biography on 51job.com. Yan received engineering and philosophy degrees from the University of Hong Kong, and an MBA from France’s Insead.
51job saw total revenues increase by 33.5 percent year-over-year to 811.3 million RMB ($129.3 million U.S.) in Q1 2018. Of this, revenue from online recruitment services increased 30.5 percent year-over-year to 548.3 million RMB ($87.4 million U.S.), and “other human resource related revenues” increased 40.2 percent to 263 million RMB (US$41.9 million).
The recruitment vertical boasts over 110 million users. The company currently operates the 51job.com domain and offers recruitment services to high-level candidates at 51jingying.com (51精英) and recruitment services for graduates at the bare-bones Yingjiesheng.com (应届生). The (estimated) number of unique employers on these three platforms increased by 3.8 percent to 375,290 in the first quarter of 2018.
Lagou chairman Xu Dandan 许单单 indicated that the motivation for the deal lay, in part, with 51job’s expectations for Lagou Cloud HR (拉勾云人事) — a human resources SaaS product comprised of recruitment, employee, and personnel management systems. (We reported on Lagou Cloud HR in CIR 18:13, just a few months after its initial release).
Original reporting: Bloomberg