Rumors are swirling in Chinese media today that Gong Yu, chief operating officer for the Chinese Internet portal Sohu.com (SOHU), will soon depart from his position.

A company insider has told Chinese financial website Hexun.com that Gong has already officially handed in his resignation. Prior to this letter, he reportedly resigned several times, but was asked to stay by Charles Zhang, chairman and founder of Sohu.com. However, determined to leave Sohu.com this time, he is also rumored to be looking at starting his own business in the future. Obviously someone with a great business sense and operational acumen, Gong is planning to find a new job when companies are cutting back on hiring, the business horizon is foggy, and the global financial crisis is causing consternation among Chinese Internet companies who rely on advertising budgets to fund their operations.

Gong is a dedicated senior manager and he hardly had any private time over the past few years, says the insider. Since the establishment of Focus.cn, a Chinese real estate website, in November 1999, Gong has been working hard to build that business. In November 2003, Sohu.com acquired Focus.cn for USD16 million and Gong became vice president for Sohu.com at that time. In February 2007, Gong was appointed COO of the company and become Sohu.com's core management staff along with joint president and chief marketing officer Wang Xin and Carol Yu, a joint president and chief financial officer.

Documents from Sohu.com show that before Gong's resignation, he was in charge of Sohu.com's wireless business, Focus.cn and the internal operation of the company.

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