Since graduating from Shanghai East-China Model High School in 1980, Mao has been heavily involved in the computer industry. He started his own software company in 1982 and later served as a consultant from 1988 to 1993. The following year, in 1984, he joined Walden, an international risk investment company, as a vice-president.
Mao was a strong advocate for the merger of Stone Richsight and Huanyuan Consultation. From 1996 to 2001, he served as the chief operating officer at Sina.com. In 2002, he became Sina.com’s chief executive officer.