The origin of Baidu’s name
Our name was inspired by a poem written more than 800 years ago during China's Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamour with the search for one's dreams while confronted by life's many obstacles. “…Hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos / Suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood." Baidu, whose literal meaning is “hundreds of times,” represents a persistent search for the ideal.
Baidu was co-founded in 2000 by Internet pioneer Robin Li, creator of visionary search technology Rankdex, a method of hyperlink analysis. He set out to provide the best and most equitable way for people to find what they're looking for and built a company culture predicated on two principles: simplicity and reliability. Over the past 16 years, we have striven to fulfill our mission by listening carefully to our users. In order to provide intelligent, relevant search results for the tens of billions of queries that are entered into our search platform every day, we focus on powering the best technology, optimized for up-to-date local tastes and preferences. Our deep understanding of Chinese language and culture is central to our success in our home market, and this understanding has allowed us to tailor our search technology for our users’ needs.
We also see tremendous opportunity to service users outside China, in markets such as Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand. We are beginning to see our international products gain traction, with 260 million monthly active users in December 2015.
We provide our users with many channels to connect to information and services. In addition to our core web search product, we power several popular community-based products. These include Baidu PostBar, the world’s first and largest Chinese-language query-based searchable online community platform; Baidu Knows, the world’s largest Chinese-language interactive knowledge-sharing platform; and Baidu Encyclopedia, the world’s largest user-generated Chinese-language encyclopedia. Beyond these marquee products we also offer dozens of popular vertical search-based products, such as Maps, Image Search, Video Search, News Search, and many more. We power these through our cutting-edge technology, continually innovating to enhance these services. Over the past few years, rapid mobile adoption has dramatically altered the Internet landscape and opened up tremendous opportunities. In the mobile era, mobile search, maps and app distribution are large scale, powerful gateways that China’s users rely on to connect and discover. Mobile revenue comprised 60% of our total revenue as of Q1 2016, and mobile search accounted for approximately two-thirds of total search traffic on Baidu. As Baidu grows and evolves in the age of mobile, we are taking mobile search to the next stage by connecting users with both information and services, enabling users to complete closed loop transactions and providing local merchants across multiple industry verticals with an integrated online marketing and transaction services solution.
In addition to serving individual users, we also serve as a media platform for online marketing customers. Our online marketing business model is mainly based on a performance-oriented marketing platform for businesses to cost-effectively reach targeted Internet users. We offer performance-based online marketing services and display advertisements through both organic Baidu websites and our affiliated website partners (Baidu Union). Our affiliated Baidu Union partners direct traffic to us by integrating a Baidu search box into their websites and/or by displaying relevant contextual promotional links for our customers. The majority of our revenue is derived from performance-based online marketing services, whereby our customers pay on a cost per click basis when their paid-link is clicked through by users. Our goal is to give our customers an online marketing platform with a full range of marketing options, an extensive selection of tools for managing their accounts, and data for analyzing and optimizing ROI.
/ Co-founder/ CEO/ Chairman
Robin Li is the co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Baidu, and oversees the company's overall strategy and business operations.
Robin received a bachelor of science degree in information management from Peking University in 1991, and a master of science degree in computer science from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1994. Robin worked as a senior consultant at a subsidiary of Dow Jones and designed the real-time financial information system for the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. Robin received a US patent for a system of hyperlink analysis in 1999, one of the inventions that has helped shape today's search technology. He later joined InfoSeek, one of the early search engines, in Silicon Valley as a senior engineer.
Since founding the company in January 2000, Robin has led Baidu to be China’s largest search engine, with over 70% market share. Baidu is the largest Chinese search engine globally and the second largest independent search engine in the world. China is among the four countries globally—alongside the United States, Russia and South Korea—to possess its own core search engine technology. Through innovations such as Box Computing to Baidu’s Open Data and Open App Platform, Robin has substantially advanced the theoretical framework of China’s Internet sciences, propelling Baidu to be the vanguard of China’s Internet industry.
In 2005, Baidu became a NASDAQ-listed public company and in 2007 was the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 Index. In 2007, The Financial Times listed Baidu as one of the Top 10 Chinese Global Brands, with Baidu being the youngest company, as well as the only Internet company, in the top ten.
As one of the pioneers and leading figures in China’s Internet industry, Robin’s achievements are widely recognized. Robin acts as the vice chairman of the Internet Society of China (ISC). He has also been a vice chairman of All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference since December 2012 and 2013, respectively. Robin is a “1000 Talent” National Distinguished Expert and has received honors including “CCTV Key Figure in China’s Economy,” “The Top 30 Figures in China’s 30 Years of Reform,” “Ten IT Leaders,” and many others. Robin topped Forbes’ list of “2012 China’s Best CEOs” and was named in Forbes’ List of World’s Most Powerful People three years in a row. Magazines such as BusinessWeek and Time Magazine have repeatedly put Robin’s on the lists of “Best Business Leaders in the World” and “China’s Most Influential Business Leaders.” Robin currently serves on the board of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., a private educational services in China (NASDAQ: EDU), and Ctrip.com International, Ltd., an online travel agency in China (NASDAQ: CTRP).