Cate Cadell, editor-in-chief at TechNode in Beijing joined us in this episode to discuss the Baidu Group, China’s largest search engine and part of the BAT axis in China. In our conversation, we discussed Baidu from the perspective of the management team and board led by Robin Li, their business structures, and the current strategies behind Baidu that include their alliances with Facebook and Uber from the West and their heavy investments into O2O services. Last but not least, we discussed the ongoing story where Baidu is investigated by the Chinese authorities on their medical ads.
Analyse Asia with Bernard Leong is a weekly podcast dedicated to the pulse of technology, business & media in Asia. They interview thought leaders and leading industry players and gain their insights to how we perceive and understand the market. Analyse Asia is a content partner of TechNode.
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- The story of Cate Cadell, Editor-in-chief and Writer with TechNode and TechCrunch China
- How did she get started in tech reporting? [1:35]
- What are her areas of coverage in TechNode? [2:58]
- From Mongolia, Myanmar to China, what are the interesting lessons learned from her journey? [3:31]
- Baidu [4:25]
- Introduction to Baidu: started in 2000 by Robin Li, creator of the visionary search technology Hyperlink Analysis, listed on NASDAQ with market capitalization to US$64.31B, with over 46K employees worldwide, annual revenue by 2015: 66.4B RMB ~ US$10.2B, probably with > 71% market share of mobile and web search in China based on Alalysys reports (compare to Google – US$477.4B about 8x more)
- What is the vision and mission of Baidu? [5:27]
- From their website, “As a technology-based media company, Baidu aims to provide the best and most equitable way for people to find what they’re looking for.”
- Who are the key executives in the management team of Baidu? [6:26]
- Jennifer Li, CFO of Baidu
- Who are on the board of directors on Baidu?
- Yang Yuanqing (CEO of Lenovo)
- Brent Callinicos (CFO, Uber Technologies)
- What are the key products that drive the business of Baidu? [8:00]
- Search Products: Web, Image, Video search
- Social Products: Post Par, Album, Space
- User Generated Content Knowledge Products: Baike, Wenku
- Location Based Products and Services: Maps, Travel
- Music Products: Baidu Music
- Based on Q1 2016 ops highlights: 663M mobile search monthly active users (MAUs) – 9% YoY growth, Mobile Maps MAUs ~ 321M ~ 19% YoY, GMV for transactional services RMB 16B ~ US$2.5B, Baidu wallet ~ 65M accounts. [9:50]
- How are Baidu’s revenues split between these products? Which are the products driving Baidu’s growth? [10:40]
- Unlike Alibaba and Tencent, Baidu has a research lab run by Andrew Ng (co-founder, Coursera & formerly did research with Google X) in Silicon Valley, what is the thinking behind this? [12:32]
- Baidu has entered into self driving cars and starting from Silicon Valley, why not do in China first? [14:09]
- Baidu Takeout Delivery recently raised a funding round with a valuation of US$2.5B, what is the service and how does Baidu manage to grow this new service within their product offerings? [15:53]
- How does Baidu takeout delivery work for a consumer? [17:20]
- Baidu is friendlier to US western companies, for example, Facebook and Uber, with their investment in Uber, and also ties with Facebook on selling of ads, how does these friendships translate into business opportunities for Baidu and their western allies? [18:05]
- Baidu with Facebook and Uber: a new model for Western companies entering China? For example, LinkedIn. [20:15]
- Of the BAT, is Baidu the weakest among the three given that it does not own Ecommerce and payments like Alibaba with Ant Financials aka Alipay, and social and payments like Tencent with WeChat? [21:20]
- Baidu went public early with an IPO in 2004, while Alibaba IPO in 2008 at HKSE and then in NYSE at 2014.
- Topic of the day: Student’s death prompts investigation into Baidu’s medical ads. [24:08]