Baidu offers many services, including a Chinese language-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. 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 October 2012[update], Baidu ranked 5th overall in the Alexa Internet rankings. 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% In December 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index.
As of January 2014, Baidu's market capitalization amounted to approximately $55 billion. It is considered one of the most successful Internet startups of all time by market capitalization, revenue, growth and cultural impact.
It is similar to Wikipedia as an encyclopedia, however, unlike Wikipedia only registered users can edit the articles. While access to Wikipedia has been blocked in China since October 2005, there is some controversy about the degree to which Baidu cooperates with Chinese government censorship.
The name Baidu is a quote from the last line of Xin Qiji's classical poem "Green Jade Table in The Lantern Festival" saying: "Having searched thousands of times in the crowd, suddenly turning back, She is there in the dimmest candlelight."
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.
In 1994, Robin Li 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. 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 and received a US patent for the technology. He later used this technology for the Baidu search engine.
In 2003, Baidu launched news search engine and picture search engine, adopting a special identification technology capable of identifying and grouping the articles.
On July 31, 2012, Baidu announced they would team up with Sina to provide mobile search results.
On November 18, 2012, Baidu announced that they would be partnering with Qualcomm to offer free cloud storage to Android users with Snapdragon processors.
On August 2, 2013, Baidu launched Personal Assistant app for businessperson, to help CEOs, managers and the white-collars manage their business relationships.
On August 14, 2013, Baidu announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Baidu (Hong Kong) Limited has signed a definitive merger agreement (the "Agreement") to acquire a 100 percent equity interest in 91 Wireless Web-soft Limited from NetDragon Web-soft Inc.
Baidu offers several services 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. Also, a Baidu application for Apple's iOS is available.
Baidu started its Japanese language search service, run by Baidu Japan, the company's first regular service outside of China. It includes a search bar for web pages and image searches, user help and advanced services.
Baidu Post Bar provides users with a query-based searchable community to exchange views and share knowledge and experiences. It is an online community bound tightly with Baidu's search service.
Baidu News provides links to a selection of local, national and international news, and presents news stories in a searchable format, within minutes of their publication on the Web. Baidu News uses an automated process to display links to related headlines, which enables people to see many different viewpoints on the same story. Chinese government and Chinese industry sources stated that Baidu received a license from Beijing, which allows the search engine to become a full-fledged news website. Thus Baidu is able to provide its own reports, besides showing certain results as a search engine. Baidu is the first Chinese search engine to receive such a license.
Baidu Knows (百度知道) provides users with a query-based searchable community to share knowledge and experience. Through Baidu Knows, registered members of Baidu Knows can post specific questions for other members to respond and also answer questions of other members.
Baidu MP3 Search provides algorithm-generated links to songs and other multimedia files provided by Internet content providers. Baidu started with a popular music search feature called "MP3 Search" and its comprehensive lists of popular Chinese music, Baidu 500, based on download numbers. Baidu locates file formats such as MP3, WMA and SWF. The multimedia search feature is mainly used in searches for Chinese pop music. While such works are copyrighted under Chinese law, Baidu claims on its legal disclaimer that linking to these files does not break Chinese law. This has led other local search engines to follow the practice, including Google China(Hong Kong), which uses an intermediate company called Top100 to offer a similar MP3 Search service.
Baidu Image Search enables users to search millions of images on the Internet. Baidu Image Search offers features such as search by image size and by image file type. Image listings are organized by various categories, which are updated automatically through algorithms.
Baidu Video Search enables users to search for and access through hyperlinks of online video clips that are hosted on third parties’ Websites.
Baidu Space the social networking service of Baidu, allows registered users to create personalized homepages in a query-based searchable community. Registered users can post their Web logs, or blogs, photo album and certain personal information on their homepages and establish their own communities of friends who are also registered users. By July 2009, it had reached 100 million registered users
China Digital Village Encyclopedia (中国数字乡村大百科全书), in June 2009, Baidu announced it would compile the largest digital rural encyclopedia in China, according to China Securities Journal. It is expected to include 500,000 administrative villages in China, covering 80% of the total 600,000 villages in China. Baidu is creating the content of this encyclopedia largely from participants of its "rural information competition" (乡村信息化大赛), on which it has spent roughly five million yuan on incentives. Baidu sees China's rural areas as great potential for electronic business (e-business), evidenced by the fact that revenue grew the fastest from agriculture, forestry, animals, and fishery in the company's keyword promotion project, a crucial source of Baidu's total revenue. In addition to Baidu Encyclopedia, the company scales up keyword promotion and take advantage of other products, such as Baidu Zhidao and Baidu Youa, to provide consultation, brand ad exhibitions and online network marketing/sales platform support, marketing information for rural tourism and promoting local products.
Baidu Search Ranking provides listings of search terms based on daily search queries entered on Baidu.com. The listings are organized by categories and allow users to locate search terms on topics of interest.
Baidu Web Directory enables users to browse and search through websites that have been organized into categories.
Baidu Government Information Search allows users to search various regulations, rules, notices, and other information announced by People's Republic of China government entities.
Educational Website Search allows users to search the Websites of educational institutions. Baidu University Search allows users to search information on or browse through the Websites of specific universities in China
Baidu Legal Search enables users to search a database that contains national and local laws and regulations, cases, legal decisions, and law dictionaries.
Baidu Love is a query-based searchable community where registered users can write and post messages to loved ones.
Baidu Patent Search enables users to search for specific Chinese patents and provides basic patent information in the search results, including the patent’s name, application number, filing date, issue date, inventor information and brief description of the patent.
Baidu Games is an online channel that allows users to search or browse through game-related news and content.
Baidu-Hexun Finance, a financial information Website, with partner Hexun.com, a financial information service provider in China with news reporting and securities consulting licenses. Users can search or browse through economic and financial news, information relating to personal wealth management and related market statistics.
Baidu Entertainment is an online channel for entertainment-related news and content. Users can search or browse through news and other information relating to specific stars, movies, television series and music.
Baidu Tongji is Baidu's web analytics platform. It provides users with many reports about visitors to their website, such as a report on the source of visitors to their website, a user demographics report, reports on content viewed on site, and a heat map report.
Baidu Yi is a smartphone operating system based on Android OS, announced in September 2011.
Baidu Library is an open online platform for users to share documents. All the documents in Baidu Library are uploaded by the users and Baidu does not edit or change the documents. Users can read and download lecture notes, exercises, sample exams, presentation slides, materials of various subjects, variety of documents templates, etc. However, it is not completely free. In order to download some documents, users should have enough Baidu points to cover the points asked by the uploaders. Users could gain Baidu points by making contribution to Baidu Library and other users, such as uploading documents, categorizing documents, evaluating documents, etc.
Baidu Experience is a product of Baidu primarily focusing on supporting the users with practical problems. In other words, it helps the users to solve the "how to do" problem. It was launched in October 2010. In architecture, Baidu Experience has integrated and reformatted Baidu Encyclopedia and Baike Knows. The first difference between Baidu Experience and Baidu Knows is that the former concentrates on specific "how to do" problems while the later contains a wider range of problems. The second difference is that users could share their experience without being asked on Baidu Experience.
Baidu around You is a searching and sharing platform aiming at supporting the users with making their consumption decisions. There are currently 7 main categories of information on Baidu around You, including food, shopping, recreation, hotels, fitness, beauty and traveling. In addition, Baidu around You provides the users with convenient services and local information, partially coming from the users and searchable by cities.
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.
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 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 consists of several third-party websites and software applications. 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.
In an August 2010 Wall Street Journal article, 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[update], it is discussing the possibility of working with Facebook, which would lead to a Chinese version of the international social network, managed by Baidu. This plan, if executed, would face off Baidu with competition from the three popular Chinese social networks pengyou.com, Renren and Kaixin001 as well as induce rivalry with instant-messaging giant, Tencent QQ.
On January 9, 2013, Baidu was still number one in the market, with 64.5% of the users, the closest competitor, 360, who launched its own search engine in August, has already taken hold of 10.2% users. Following are Google and Sogou.
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.
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.
Moreover, the service may only be used by advertisers with a registered business address in China or in several other East Asian countries.
DNA copyright technology
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.
Site-wise search patented technology
Baidu has applied for a utility patent in the UK, for its proprietary site-wise search technology which is currently available in China.
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.
R&D and innovation
Baidu has increase its R&D expenditure steadily. In 2009, the they accounted for USD 68 mn and only three years later, in 2012, Baidu spent more than USD 370 mn for R&D. In the year 2010, the company filed more than 120 patent and utility model applications.
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.
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. In August 2013, Baidu announced it had agreed to buy 91 Wireless from Netdragon for $1.85 billion in what was hailed as the biggest deal ever in China’s IT sector.
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. In May 2011, pro-democracy activists sued Baidu for violating the U.S. constitution by the censorship it conducts in accord with the demand of the Chinese government.
Domain name redirection
On January 12, 2010, Baidu.com's DNS records in the United States were altered such that browsers to baidu.com 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. Internet users were met with a page saying "This site has been attacked by Iranian Cyber Army". Chinese hackers later responded by attacking Iranian websites and leaving messages. Baidu later launched legal action against Register.com for gross negligence after it was revealed that Register.com's technical support staff changed the email address for Baidu.com 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.