Not to be confused with Beidu, Beidou, or Baidul.
Baidu, Inc.
Type of site
Traded as NASDAQ: BIDU
NASDAQ-100 Component
Founded January 1, 2000 (2000-01-01)
Headquarters Beijing, China
Area served Worldwide
Key people Robin Li (Chairman, CEO)[1]
Industry Internet
Increase CNY 66.382 billion
(Dec 31, 2015)[2]
Operating income
Decrease CNY 11.672 billion
(Dec 31, 2015)[2]
Total assets
Increase CNY 147.853 billion
(Dec 31, 2015)[3]
Total equity
Increase CNY 80.268 billion
(Dec 31, 2015)[3]
(Jan 1, 2015)[4]


Alexa rank ⇌ 4 (February 2016)[5]

Baidu headquarters, Haidian District, Beijing
Chinese 百度

Baidu, Inc. (Chinese: ; pinyin: Bǎidù, anglicized /ˈbd/ "BY-doo"), incorporated on January 18, 2000, is a Chinese web services company headquartered at the Baidu Campus in Beijing's Haidian District.[6] It is one of the largest Internet companies in the world.

Baidu offers many services, including a Chinese search engine for websites, audio files and images. Baidu offers 57 search and community services including Baidu Baike (an online, collaboratively built encyclopedia) and a searchable, keyword-based discussion forum.[7] Baidu was established in 2000 by Robin Li and Eric Xu. Both of the co-founders are Chinese nationals who studied and worked overseas before returning to China. In March 2015, Baidu ranked 4th overall in the Alexa Internet rankings.[8]

During Q4 of 2010, it is estimated that there were 4.02 billion search queries in China of which Baidu had a market share of 56.6%. China's Internet-search revenue share in second quarter 2011 by Baidu is 76%.[9] In December 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index.[10]

As of 2006, Baidu provided an index of over 740 million web pages, 80 million images, and 10 million multimedia files.[11] Baidu offers multimedia content including MP3 music, and movies, and is the first in China to offer Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and personal digital assistant (PDA)-based mobile search.

Baidu Baike is similar to Wikipedia as an online encyclopedia; however, unlike Wikipedia, only registered users can edit the articles due to Chinese laws. While access to Wikipedia has been intermittently blocked or certain articles filtered in China since June 2004, there is some controversy about the degree to which Baidu cooperates with Chinese government censorship.[12]

The company also hosts a music service, called Baidu Music, that has more than 150 million monthly active users. On December 4, 2015, Baidu announced plans to merge with Taihe Entertainment Group to help the service compete with Apple Inc.'s Apple Music, which Apple plans to make available in China.[13]


The name Baidu is a quote from the last line of Xin Qiji (辛弃疾)'s classical poem "Green Jade Table in The Lantern Festival" (青玉案·元夕) saying: "Having searched thousands of times in the crowd, suddenly turning back, She is there in the dimmest candlelight." (众里寻他千百度,蓦然回首,那人却在灯火阑珊处。)

The context of the poem is that in ancient China, girls had to stay indoors, and the Lantern Festival was one of the few times they could go outside. In the chaotic sea of lantern lights, they would sneak away to meet their lovers and exchange promises to meet again next year.

A summary of the entire poem: Flowers bursting into bloom in the sky, stars falling like rain (fireworks/meteor shower), Whole streets filled with perfume, jeweled horses pulling ornate carriages, fish and dragon lanterns dancing throughout the entire night. A body decorated with golden thread and butterfly trinket, laughter that has a subtle fragrance. Having searched for this person until exhaustion, when suddenly turning back by chance, I find her standing lonely in the far end of the street in the waning light.

Many people have asked about the meaning of our name. 'Baidu' was inspired by a poem written more than 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamour with the search for one's dream 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 persistent search for the ideal.


Early development

In 1994, Robin Li (Li Yanhong, 李彦宏) joined IDD Information Services, a New Jersey division of Dow Jones and Company, where he helped develop software for the online edition of the Wall Street Journal.[15] He also worked on developing better algorithms for search engines and remained at IDD Information Services from May 1994 to June 1997.

In 1996, while at IDD, Li developed the RankDex site-scoring algorithm for search engines results page ranking[16][17][18] and received a US patent for the technology.[19] He later used this technology for the Baidu search engine.

In 2000, the company Baidu launched in Beijing, China. The first office was located in a hotel room, which was near Peking University from where Robin graduated.

In 2003, Baidu launched a news search engine and picture search engine, adopting a special identification technology capable of identifying and grouping the articles.[20]

Domain name redirection

On January 12, 2010,'s DNS records in the United States were altered such that browsers to were redirected to a website purporting to be the Iranian Cyber Army, thought to be behind the attack on Twitter during the 2009 Iranian election protests, making the proper site unusable for four hours.[21] Internet users were met with a page saying "This site has been attacked by Iranian Cyber Army".[22] Chinese hackers later responded by attacking Iranian websites and leaving messages.[23] Baidu later launched legal action against for gross negligence after it was revealed that's technical support staff changed the email address for on the request of an unnamed individual, despite failing security verification procedures. Once the address had been changed, the individual was able to use the forgotten password feature to have Baidu's domain passwords sent directly to them, allowing them to accomplish the domain hijacking.[24][25]

Baidu workers arrested

On August 6, 2012, the BBC reported that three employees of Baidu were arrested on suspicion that they accepted bribes. The bribes were allegedly paid for deleting posts from the forum service. Four people were fired in connection with these arrests.[26]

91 Wireless acquisition

On July 16, 2013, Baidu announced its intention to purchase 91 Wireless from NetDragon. 91 Wireless is best known for its app store, but it has been reported that the app store faces piracy and other legal issues.[27] On August 14, 2013, Baidu announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Baidu (Hong Kong) Limited has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire 91 Wireless Web-soft Limited from NetDragon Web-soft Inc.[28] for $1.85 billion in what was reported to be the biggest deal ever in China's IT sector.[29]

2010s announcements

On July 31, 2012, Baidu announced they would team up with Sina to provide mobile search results.[30]

On November 18, 2012, Baidu announced that they would be partnering with Qualcomm to offer free cloud storage to Android users with Snapdragon processors.[31]

On August 2, 2013, Baidu launched its Personal Assistant app, designed to help CEOs, managers and the white-collar workers manage their business relationships.[32]

On July 18, 2014, the company launched a Brazilian version of the search engine, Baidu Busca.[33]

On October 9, 2014, Baidu announced acquisition of Brazilian local e-commerce site Peixe Urbano.[34]


Baidu offers several services[35] to locate information, products and services using Chinese-language search terms, such as, search by Chinese phonetics, advanced search, snapshots, spell checker, stock quotes, news, knows, postbar, images, video and space information, and weather, train and flight schedules and other local information. The user-agent string of Baidu search engine is Baiduspider.[36][37] Also, a Baidu application for Apple's iOS is available.[38]


Baidu's primary advertising product is called Baidu Tuiguang and is similar to Google Adwords and Adsense. It is a pay per click advertising platform that allows advertisers to have their ads shown in Baidu search results pages and on other websites that are part of Baidu Union.

Baidu sells its advertising products via a network of resellers.[64]

Baidu's web administrative tools are all in Chinese, which makes it tough for non-Chinese speakers to use. Recently, a third-party company began to develop a tool with an English-language interface for Baidu advertising programs.[65][66]

Moreover, the service may only be used by advertisers with a registered business address in China or in several other East Asian countries.[67]

Pay for placement (P4P)

Baidu focuses on generating revenues primarily from online marketing services. Baidu's pay for placement (P4P) platform enables its customers to reach users who search for information related to their products or services. Customers use automated online tools to create text-based descriptions of their web pages and bid on keywords that trigger the display of their webpage information and link. Baidu's P4P platform features an automated online sign-up process that customers use to activate their accounts at any time. The P4P platform is an online marketplace that introduces Internet search users to customers who bid for priority placement in the search results. Baidu also uses third-party distributors to sell some of its online marketing services to end customers and offers discounts to these distributors in consideration of their services.

Baidu offers certain consultative services, such as keyword suggestions, account management and performance reporting. Baidu suggests synonyms and associated phrases to use as keywords or text in search listings. These suggestions can improve clickthrough rates of the customer's listing and increase the likelihood that a user will enter into a transaction with the customer. Baidu also provides online daily reports of the number of clickthroughs, clicked keywords and the total costs incurred, as well as statistical reports organized by geographic region. ≥≥≥≥←[68]


Baidu offers ProTheme services to some of its Baidu Union members, which enable these members to display on their properties its customers' promotional links that are relevant to the subject and content of such members' properties. Baidu generates revenues from ProTheme services based on the number of clicks on its customers' links and share the revenues with its Baidu Union members in accordance with pre-agreed terms. Baidu's fixed-ranking services allow customers to display query-sensitive text links at a designated location on its search results pages. Its Targetizement services enable customers to reach their targeted Internet users by displaying their advertisements only when their targeted Internet users browse Baidu's certain Web pages.

Baidu TV

Baidu operates its advertising service, Baidu TV, in partnership with Ads it! Media Corporation, an online advertising agency and technology company. Baidu TV provides advertisers access to the websites of its Baidu Union members, allowing advertisers to choose Websites on which they post their video advertisements with the aid of its advertisement targeting and matching system. It also offers a brand advertising service, Brand-Link. In June 2008, Baidu launched My Marketing Center, a customized platform integrating industry information, market trends and business, and industry news and reports to assist existing customers in their sales and marketing efforts. Other forms of its online advertising services allow customers to display query sensitive and non-query sensitive advertisements on its websites, including graphical advertisements.

Baidu Union

Baidu Union consists of several third-party websites and software applications.[69] Union members incorporate a Baidu search box or toolbar and match its sponsored links with the content on their properties. Their users can conduct search via the Baidu search box or toolbar and can click the sponsored links located on their properties. Baidu has also launched programs through which it displays the online advertising of its customers on Baidu Union websites, and share the fees generated by these advertisements with the owners of these Baidu Union websites. As of May 2011, there were 230 thousand partner websites that displayed Baidu Union ads on their websites.[70]


Baidu[71] competes with 360 Search (, Sogou Search (, Yahoo! China, Microsoft's Bing and MSN Messenger, Sina, Wikipedia, NetEase's Youdao, Tencent's and PaiPai, Alibaba's Taobao, TOM Online, and EachNet.

Baidu is the No. 1 search engine in China, controlling 63 percent of China's market share as of January 2010, according to iResearch.[72] The number of Internet users in China had reached 705 million by the end of 2015, according to a report by the[73]

In an August 2010 Wall Street Journal article,[74] Baidu played down its benefit from Google's having moved its China search service to Hong Kong, but Baidu's share of revenue in China's search-advertising market grew six percentage points in the second quarter to 70%, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.

It is also evident that Baidu is attempting to enter the Internet social network market. As of 2011, it is discussing the possibility of working with Facebook, which would lead to a Chinese version of the international social network, managed by Baidu.[75] This plan, if executed, would face off Baidu with competition from the three popular Chinese social networks, Renren[76] and Kaixin001[77] as well as induce rivalry with instant-messaging giant, Tencent QQ.[78]

On February 22, 2012, Hudong submitted a complaint to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce asking for a review of the behavior of Baidu, accusing it of being monopolistic.[79]

On January 9, 2013, Baidu was still number one in the market, with 64.5% of the users, the closest competitor, Qihoo 360, who launched its own search engine in August, has already taken hold of 10.2% users. Following are Google and Sogou.[80]

By August 2014, Baidu's search market share in China has dropped to 56.3%, where Qihoo 360, its closest competitor who has rebranded its search engine as, has increased its market share to 29.0%, according to report from[81]

In February 2015, Baidu was alleged to use anticompetitive tactics in Brazil against the Brazilian online security firm PSafe and Qihoo 360 (the largest investor of PSafe).[82][83]

Research and patents

Baidu has started to invest in deep learning research and is integrating new deep learning technology into some of its apps and products, including Phoenix Nest. Phoenix Nest is Baidu's ad-bidding platform.[84]

In April 2012 Baidu applied for a patent for its "DNA copyright recognition" technology. This technology automatically scans files that are uploaded by Internet users, and recognizes and filters out content that may violate copyright law. This allows Baidu to offer an infringement-free platform.[85][86]

Baidu has applied for a utility patent in the UK, for its proprietary site-wise search technology which is currently available in China.


According to the China Digital Times, Baidu has a long history of being the most proactive and restrictive online censor in the search arena. Documents leaked in April 2009 from an employee in Baidu's internal monitoring and censorship department show a long list of blocked websites and censored topics on Baidu search.[87]

In May 2011, activists sued Baidu in the United States for violating the U.S. constitution by the censorship it conducts in accord with the demand of the Chinese government.[88] A U.S. judge has ruled[89] that the Chinese search engine Baidu has the right to block pro-democracy works from its query results, dismissing a lawsuit that sought to punish the company for Internet censorship.[90]


Baidu's reviews are mixed for in many fields and it is controversial. The examples are promoting and commercialization of Baidu Tieba.

Death of Wei Zexi

Main article: Death of Wei Zexi

In May 2016, Baidu's P4P search results reportedly caused the death of a student who tried an experimental cancer therapy he found online. The 21-year-old college student was named Wèi Zéxī (魏则西), who studied in Xidian University. Wei was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He found the Second Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps (武警北京市总队第二医院) through the search engine Baidu, on which the hospital had been promoting itself. The treatment proved to be unsuccessful.

After Wei's family spending around 200,000 yuan (around 31,150 USD) for treatment in the hospital, Wei Zexi died on April 12, 2016. The incident triggered massive online discussions after Wei's death. The fact that Baidu valued money way more than life kindled nationwide rage.[91] On May 2, 2016, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the top watchdog for China's Internet space, dispatched a team of investigators to Baidu.[92] The case is still ongoing. One report claimed medical advertising makes up for 30% of Baidu's ad revenue, much of which comes from for-profit hospitals that belong to the "Putian Network", a collection of hospitals across the country founded by medical entrepreneurs associated with the Putian region of Fujian province.[93] The investigation led Chinese regulators to impose several restrictions on Baidu, including adding disclaimers to promotional content and establishing channels for complaints about Baidu services.[94]

Commercialization of Tieba

Baidu sold the Tieba to unqualified hospitals. In January 2016, Baidu announced that it will stop selling all of its illness-related Tieba.[95]

See also


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Further reading

External links

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