Every internet user in China knows Baidu, the Chinese alternative for Google. The search engine leads the race for dominance in the country by far, even though there are plenty of other domestic search engines to choose from. However, making a name for itself as the leading internet search engine is not enough, the company is poised to be one of the most valuable tech brands in the world. With a focus on AI advancement, Baidu is one of the most prominent enterprises which have helped China position itself on the global tech map.
From search site to internet kingdom
Founded by Robin Lin and Eric Xu in Beijing in 2000, Baidu has become the fourth-largest search engine in the world with a market share of below two percent. Every day, hundreds of millions of people across the world search on Baidu, making over five billion queries. Behind the Great Firewall, the absence of Google, Bing, and Yahoo! has given rise to domestic search options like Sogou, Shenma, and 360. Using a different approach to search result rankings and advertiser preferences, Baidu is able to take a lion’s share of the Chinese search market. Nevertheless, its monopoly has faced several backlashes in recent years, particularly regarding the promotion of sponsored sites in search results.
Similar to Google, Baidu has various subsidiaries, from internet services Baidu Browser and Baidu Cloud, to knowledge products Baidu Baike and Baidu Knows, as well as travel and navigation apps Baidu Map and Qunar. Baidu even operates social networking sites Baidu Tieba and Baidu Space and video streaming platforms iQIYI and Haokan, amassing a monthly active userbase of over 630 million. Duer – a virtual AI assistant app – is the latest addition to the internet empire.
Baidu’s AI vision
To keep up with domestic internet giants Alibaba and ByteDance in advertising sales, Baidu has been actively developing a full AI stack. Since 2010, the internet conglomerate started to research machine learning and major AI capabilities, like computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, and augmented reality. The company has successfully integrated AI technologies into its major businesses and even expanded its footprint in autonomous driving.
Currently, the Chinese AI innovator is one of the largest patent owners in smart driving and machine learning and AI. Some of Baidu’s ongoing projects are Baidu Brain (an open AI platform), Apollo (a smart driving system), PaddlePaddle (a deep learning platform), PaddleHelix (a machine learning-based biocomputing framework), Baidu Kunlun 2 (an AI chip), and XiRang (a metaverse application). In April 2022, Baidu received the first-ever regulatory approval to provide autonomous ride-hailing services to the public on open roads in the capital city of China. It comes as no surprise that the tech giant still has lots to offer from its AI ventures, and its role in China’s innovation will remain crucial in the next decade.
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In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Baidu Inc.".