American readers may not know about DangDang, but China sure does. It's been called the Chinese Amazon.com, and Yu, 39 when we featured her in an October 4, 2004 article called "In
search of China's Bill Gates," is actually more like China's Jeff Bezos. DangDang is the largest online store in the country for books, music, and DVDs.
Yu worked in publishing in the U.S. before returning to China in 1998 to create DangDang with her husband Li Quoqing, who is now the CEO. As we noted, at the time she "ran into
hundreds of others trying to be the Amazon of China." DangDang succeeded, though its solo reign didn't last forever -- Joyo, Amazon's own China subsidiary, has an equal market
share, and the site also faces competition in electronics sales from 360buy.com.According to
the Asia Times
, DangDang will go public in the U.S. next month, with a Nasdaq listing and
$1 billion valuation. It remains to be seen whether the IPO will boost the wife-and-hubby biz above its jockeying competitors.