The company of Baidu, actually called Baidu, Inc, was incorporated on January 18, 2000 and it headquartered in Beijing. It's a Chinese multi-national tech company which specializes in internet-related products and services as well as artificial intelligence. As on of the largest internet companies, according the Alexa Internet, it's ranked fourth overall. (Alexa Internet is an American company which provides analysis of commercial web traffic data and is completed owned by Amazon.) To put it in simpler terms, Baidu is a the Chinese version of Google. Here in the US, most of us use Google as our go-to search engine. In China, however, their popular search engine is Baidu. Although Google is already established and doesn't have to worry about Baidu taking over the search engine game, folks all around the world are talking about this Chinese search engine. If this is your first time hearing about this search engine or if you only know a little about the company, we're here to help you learn. Here's 20 fun facts you didn't know about Baidu.
1. In The News
Baidu was recently in the news because of what's been called its "creepy AI" which can accurately mimic your voice after only listening to you talk for one minute. The AI, called Deep Voice, can learn the quirks of your voice as well as which sounds go with text. According to the report, Deep Voice can create a voice which can't be distinguished from your own. Furthermore, it can also change how your voice's output sounds if you were to be a different gender or have a different accent. Baidu claims that this tech can be used for creating personalized digital assistants in addition to automatically translating speech. However, this creepy technology also has the potential of serious implications. Users may be able to use it to take part of someone else's identity. Now you understand why it's been referred to as creepy.
2. How To Say Baidu
Now we'll get back to basic information. You may be wondering how to pronounced "Baidu". Well, it's just how it's spelled. The word baidu, which translated means "hundreds of times" or "countless times", can be broken down into two characters. "Bai" which is pronounced like bye or buy and "du" which should like dew or do. Put together, the word sounds like bye-dew, which is exactly how it looks!
3. The Company's Name Origin
Baidu was actually inspired by an eight-hundred year old classic poem which was written during the Song Dynasty. The poem, Green Jade Table in The Lantern Festival, was written by Xin Qiji. It was actually the poem's last line which inspired the naming of the company, which reads [see email for quote - Copyscape won't allow quotes!]
4. The Man Behind The Company
Li Yanhong, who goes by Robin Li, was born in 1968 to two factory workers. He was their only son. He grew up in Yang Quan, a small town, and later was accepted to studied computer science at Beijing University. Unfortunately, the university was shut down after pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989. Li then transferred to State University of New York, a graduate school in Buffalo. He earned his master's degree in 1994 and soon after, got his first job at a Dow Jones subsidiary called IDD. There he was able to develop software which was used for the Wall Street Journal's online edition. While still employed by IDD, he created RankDex, a site-scoring algorithm. This was in 1996 and at the same time which Sergey Brin and Larry Page were working on BackRub, which would eventually become known as the search engine giant Google. After IDD, Li then joined Infoseek, which was a search engine, as a software engineer. He was then invited back to China in order to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the communist regime in 1999. Li and Eric Wu, who was his biochemist friend, saw an opportunity in the growing internet industry and the idea for Baidu was born.
5. Silicon Valley Funding
Li and Wu founded the company in the early part of 2000. They raised one point two million dollars quickly, gaining the seed money from two of Silicon Valley's venture capital firms, Peninsula Capital and Integrity Partners. The two returned to China, with seed money in tow, launching Baidu in a hotel overlooking Beijing University. Another pair of venture capital firms, IDG Technology Venture and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, invested another ten million dollars by September of that same year in the duo's new company.
6. Original Purpose
Baidu originally offered search services into other Chinese portals. However, the company wasn't making any money in this venture, so they relaunched in 2001 as an independent site. Li was reported as having told Forbes that he just wanted to improve the search experience, but that the portals couldn't afford it or didn't want to pay for it, so they made Baidu an independent site. Don't you bet they're super-happy they made that choice?
7. Before Google
Baidu actually offered ad space before their American counterpart Google. When Baidu relaunched their company as a search engine, it looked very nearly the same as Google's plain-Jane home page. However, the company allowed advertisers to make bids on ad space before Google began to make money for every customers' clicking on ads. Baidu was making a tidy profit by 2004. As a matter of fact, Chinese internet users actually like getting online ads, unlike most Western users. Internet advertising target about fifty percent of internet users in China daily and they really don't mind it. Baidu is an excellent source of ads, being a huge hit with businesses and helping to drive more return as well.
8. Opening Day
Baidu, Inc went public on August 5, 2005, opening at a mere twenty-seven dollars a share and closing at a remarkable one hundred and twenty-two dollars a share. This vault in price shares of the Chinese search engine made for a staggering increase of over three-hundred and fifty percent, making the biggest splash in the IPO market in the last five years at least. Baidu was the largest Nasdaq opening since 2000, capturing the same magic which aided Google in quadrupling their worth. Baidu opened at sixty-six dollars a share, over twice as much as its twenty-seven dollar price, climbing some more until stabilizing, then rallying once more bringing the price up again. Baidu, on its historic opening day, closed out with just a bit over one hundred and twenty-two dollars a share. Not bad for a day's work.
9. Eighth Place
Back in 2013, Robin Li was the wealthiest man in China, but apparently a lot has changed in five years. Li, as the wealthiest man at the time, had an estimated net worth of over twelve billion dollars. Because of his creation of Baidu, Li is often referred to as the man who took on Google and won, creating China's largest search engine. Furthermore, Li has amassed even more riches due to the success of Baidu. He is now worth over sixteen billion dollars, but he is no longer the wealthiest man in China. Actually, he's currently holding in at eight on that list. First place belongs to founder and CEO of Alibaba, Jack Ma, worth a little over thirty-six billion dollars.
10. Largest in China
Baidu is China's largest search engine. It accounts for over seventy percent of China's search engine market share. Although Baidu has competitors, they are just too little to compete when it comes to revenue. Baidu is used as a search engine by over ninety percent of those in China. In addition, the search engine also has just about every alternative which Google has, such as Maps, Translate, AdWords, and other such add-ons. Because it is best using well-known platforms in order to operate in China, Baidu is probably the best choice for companies wanting to connect with the market in China.
11. Spending Money
It's no surprise that a lot of money is spent online by Chinese customers. However, what they buy the most of may be a surprise to many. Chinese customers simply shop differently online than Westerners do. Chinese consumers use Baidu, according to the Nielsen report, in order to find products which they like. The report supports the fact that Chinese customers buy nearly everything online. In fact, the top five items which consumers purchased the most online were toothpaste, laundry detergent, shampoo, paper towels, and body wash.
12. Paid Advertising
If you're a business who wants to set up an account for conducting paid advertising on Baidu, get ready to wait. It's not nearly as simple as it may be on other search engines. In addition, it may take a few months to accomplish, involving the variety provision of documents such as a business license as well as others in order to provide proof to the search engine company that you are a trustworthy and genuine company. Furthermore, you better be fluent in Chinese, because the entire application process is in their language. If you aren't fluent, you will have to hire someone who is in order to have your app completed and thave translated versions provided to you of all necessary documents. If you can show them the required information, there shouldn't be any issues having an account opened; just remember it's not going to happen in one day.
13. Rigid App Process
If you're wondering why Baidu has such a rigid application process, one of the reasons is because of the popularity of fake and counterfeit merchandise in China. (If you've ever ordered anything from China and when you get it, it's a cheap knockoff, looking nothing like the picture, this is what Baidu is trying to prevent.) Chinese consumers have become very cautious of purchasing certain products online; many choose to buy outside of China instead, in order to ensure they're getting the genuine product. Baidu can give assurances by authenticating all of its advertisers, making certain that its paid ads are for genuine, quality businesses. This assures consumers, making them more likely to buy from one of these paid ad sites than from a website which has a generic listing.
14. Baidu SEO
Baidu SEO isn't as easy as Google SEO. Baidu uses some of its own sites to be placed in the top of search results, culminating in around twenty percent of Baidu traffic being redirected to one of the company's subsidiary sites, such as Baidu Zhidao, Baidy Baike, or Baidu News. This results in a challenge for brands to obtain top ranking in terms of SEO. On Baidu, brands will need a large number of keywords and backlinks in order to have a strong SEO presences.
15. Baidu Brands
There are certainly some similarities between search engines. However, Baidu has some products which aren't seen anywhere else. Such as BrandZone, which essentially allows a brand to completely own the search engine results pages (SERPs) with their own brand, which ensures that inappropriate results or competitors will appear when doing a brand search. The results will then show a mix of text, images, and videos, linking to a range of content, driving up brand engagement and clicks as well. With BrandZone, you can expect over fifty percent click-through rate (CTR) due to the fact if a consumer searches for your brand, they are more than likely looking for that specific brand. However, BrandZone doesn't work on a pay-per-click (PPC) model; there's a set fee for a certain amount of time which guarantees your controlling of the brand. The amount of cost varies, dependent upon search volume and other such factors.
16. Most Searched Content
According to a report, the most searched content on Baidu are the following: movies and television, commodities supply and demand, education, games, and travel.
17. Most Popular Keywords
According to another report, the ten most popular keywords used on Baidu are the following: qzone, Da Zhu Zai, Baidu, Double Chromsphere, Zhe Tian, Mang Huang Ji, The Tang Door, Wu Dong Qian Kun, taobao, and weather. These words may come in handy if you're trying to get your material and/or company higher up on SEO.
18. Baidu's Answer to Uber
Baidu owns a small amount of shares in Didi Chuxing, which is now China's version of Uber. Before, Baidu had invested in the Chinese division of Uber, but the company ended up having to retreat from the market as a result of tough competition coming from Didi Chuxing, the market's leader. Uber ended up selling its business in China to Didi last year. However, Uber kept almost a twenty percent stake in the new company. Although the stake is somewhat small, the revenue could end up being more than what you'd think. Baidu could boost it, integrating Didi's services into its online-to-offline (O2O) ecosystem. In addition, Didi Chuxing may also end up playing a role in Baidu's automated driverless cars.
19. More Than a Search Engine
Baidu is more than just an ordinary search engine. In fact, the company offers close to sixty community and search services ranging from Qunar, a travel booking service, to Baidu Yi, a smartphone operating system. In addition, services also include an eCommerce platform, games, patent searches, a social network, government information search, and an encyclopedia.
20. Baidu's Driverless Cars
Like Google, Baidu also believes that a natural extension of its data-mining ecosystem would be autonomous electric cars, or driverless cars. Baidu began testing out driverless cars in 2015 on public roads, forming a tech research center last April in Silicon Valley. The cars are powered by a combination of its own AI algorithms, HERE Maps, and NVIDIA's automotive chips. The company is presently outsourcing production of these driverless cars to automakers in China. Baidu declares that it will have an autonomous shuttle to launch before the end of 2018.
In addition, Baidu also has smart bikes for sell, called DuBike. The bicycle comes equipped with a wide variety of motion and health sensors, syncing to a mobile application. Furthermore, it features on-board navigation signals, allowing the rider to follow directions without having to constantly look down at their phones/tablets. It also lets riders share their route with others. What's even more surprising, is that the entire system is powered by the rider's very own kinetic energy, meaning the bike will never needs recharging!
Baidu is the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google. In addition, the company holds over seventy-five percent of China's search engine market share. If you're planning on taking a trip to China, or moving there, just remember, you won't Google things, you'll have to Baidu them!
Written by Garrett Parker
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