In the year 2000, two Chinese entrepreneurs came together here in Beijing to launch the internet start-up, Baidu Search engine.

Over time, it would become china’s most popular search engine and become one of the nation’s tech titans.

Now, it’s getting into artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.

So, how did it become so massive and what’s next?
search engine

What is Baidu Search Engine?

Baidu is often referred to as the “Google of China.”

It commands around 70% of China’s internet searches and, given China’s massive population, it’s among the world’s most used search engines.

Baidu was co-founded in 2000 by Robin Li, with its first office in a hotel room near Peking University.

Baidu literal meaning is “hundreds of times,” which is meant to represent a persistent search for the ideal.

In 2005, the company went public in the U.S. on the Nasdaq.

It’s the employer to around 40,000 people globally.

Baidu’s headquarters are located here in the nation’s capital, Beijing.

Not only is it one of China’s largest companies, but given the sheer volume of China’s population, it’s one of the largest internet companies in the world.
baidu search engine
It comes in at number four on this list ranking the top sites on the web, coming in right behind Google, Youtube and Facebook.

Baidu’s primary product is its search engine, but it also has platforms like maps, images, videos nad news searches.

It’s launched platforms you’ve likely never heard of like Baidu Encyclopedia, the world’s largest user-generated Chinese-language encyclopedia.

And it’s a majority stakeholder in iQiyi, dubbed the “Netflix of China.”
That just scratches the surface, though.

There are many, many other verticals it has launched or acquired over the years.

The majority of Baidu’s revenue comes from advertising through its many platforms.

The majority of Baidu’s revenue comes from advertising through its many platforms.

It work similarly to Google Adwords in that it’s a pay-per-click platform that lets advertisers have their ads shown against search results, or websites that are a part of Baidu’s network.

Baidu is among the list of the highest revenue-generating internet companies, bring in more money than Netflix or eBay.

But, like all Chinese internet companies, Baidu is subject to China’s strict online censorship.

In fact, the government has fined companies, including Baidu, for failing to properly censor content on their platforms.

During a government investigation in 2017, Baidu issued an apology saying it would work with authorities to rectify the situation and improve verification efforts on the platform.

So what’s next?
With more than 770 million internet users, China is the world’s largest internet population.

That’s the entire population of the U.S. two times over.

And what’s more, it only represents slightly more than half of China’s total population of 1.4 billion.

That means there’s still a lot of room to grow as more of China comes online.

And since it’s would-be biggest competitor, Google, is banned in China, Baidu is likely to pick up a large share.

But it’s not just China where Baidu sees its growth.

Baidu’s CEO said he thinks eventually Baidu will go into Europe, the U.S. and many other places.

More than two years later, that expansion seems more focused on partnerships.

Baidu has research facilities for artificial intelligence in Beijing, Seattle and Silicon Valley, where it’s working with the likes of Huawei and Qualcomm.

And then there’s its self-driving vehicle project, in which it’s partnering with Microsoft, Intel and 

Daimler to try and bring autonomous driving worldwide.

The project is called Apollo, an open source platform that allows partner companies to tap into it.

Baidu has already developed a self-driving bus, and it’s starting to manufacture them too.

The company says it wants to see them in the streets of many of the nation’s cities soon. But, it’s not just China. Baidu is also planning to sell to foreign markets as well.

Baidu continues to dominate China’s search market, but its next test is scaling its artificial intelligence and self-driving technology outside of China.

If it can pull that off, if could become a truly global tech company.