JPMorgan’s China Internet Research Head Yao to Join Cheetah

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Alex Yao, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s China Internet research chief, is leaving to oversee acquisitions and investment at Cheetah Mobile Inc. as the fast-growing startup seeks to shore up its mobile software portfolio.

Yao, a veteran industry analyst who also worked for Deutsche Bank AG, said on Tuesday he will start his new job around September in Beijing.

Cheetah Mobile, the maker of Clean Master software to boost smartphone performance, is exploring bolt-on acquisitions to complement existing offerings. The company, whose chairman is Xiaomi Corp. co-founder Lei Jun, also aims to expand its base of 400 million-plus users.

The software maker said in June it’s on the lookout for smaller companies with expertise in utility and security applications. A 2014 New York initial public offering helped bankroll investments in French mobile advertising company MobPartner and ad technology developer Nanigans Inc. this year.

JP Morgan declined to comment. Josh Ong, a U.S.-based spokesman for Cheetah Mobile, declined to comment in an e-mailed statement.

Cheetah was spun off from software maker Kingsoft Corp. Its chairman, Lei, is also chairman of Kingsoft, which in turn is one of Cheetah’s largest shareholders.

The fast-growing company’s shares have almost doubled this year. Cheetah Mobile had 444 million monthly active mobile users as of the end of March, of which 71 percent were from overseas, Chief Executive Officer Sheng Fu said during an earnings call in May.

Yao has been with JPMorgan since 2013, where he covered 21 Internet companies from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He maintained an overweight rating on the majority of companies in the sector, including Alibaba, Tencent and Cheetah Mobile itself.

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