Following news of Google’s rumored re-entry into the Chinese market, Baidu CEO Robin Li has said he welcomes the competition and that Baidu would “win again.”
Li made the comments on WeChat after reading an article by the People’s Daily. The report stated that Google’s renewed public operations in the country are welcome as long as they stick to local regulations. The piece, which has subsequently been scrubbed from the publication’s social media accounts, said that Google has the will to regain its footing in the country.
However, Li said that by the time Google left China in 2010, Baidu commanded 70% of the search market. And that its international competitor continued to lose its share of the market.
“If Google comes back, we can just face them once again and win again,” he said in the public post. “Over the years, our industrial environment and scale of development have undergone earth-shaking changes…and the world is copying from China.”
In early August rumors began spreading that Google planned to once again operate consumer services in China. Initially, these reports focused on a project entitled Dragonfly—a filtered version of its popular international search engine designed to comply with Chinese regulations. Baidu’s share price tumbled following the news, dropping to the lowest point since the company announced the departure of former COO Lu Qi.
However, subsequent reports have drawn attention to the scope of Google’s roadmap for its Chinese business. It reportedly also has plans to launch its cloud services—including Docs and Drive—in partnership with a local company. The search giant has been in talks with Tencent since January 2018, according to Bloomberg sources. Additionally, the firm announced plans to launch an AI research center in Beijing, and more recently created a WeChat mini program.
In May, a knockoff of the popular search engine was launched by fans of the company. Google-ch (www.google-ch.com) claimed to filter results in compliance with local regulations. At the time of launch, TechNode had trouble accessing the site, possibly due to the influx of traffic.