Baidu: Connecting China to the World

Due to restrictions in terms of internet browsing in the communist country of China, many mainstream websites have been blocked including some of the most widely used applications worldwide such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. These restrictions left a large gap in the market for social media outlets and search engines. Robin Li is a Chinese man in his late 40s who jumped on this opportunity and developed the search engine, Baidu.

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Baidu was founded in 2000 when CEO and founder Robin Li accused the creators of Google of stealing his idea. He raised 1.2 million dollars from a number of investors in Silicon Valley and took ‘his’ concept to Beijing to develop. Initially, Baidu was a search engine for large websites, however towards 2004 it became a platform for all Chinese users. By 2010 Baidu was the top search engine in China, surpassing Google and other major search engines. Nowadays Baidu accumulates 80% of Chinese search engine market share, with over 500 000 000 users every month. Baidu’s server expands its market share with small percentages of usage in countries such as South Korea, Japan, United States and Hong Kong.

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(CEO and Founder of Baidu Robin Li presenting at Baidu conference)

The creation of Baidu has profited from the strict censorship of China and will continue to expand, cornering a large percentage of the Chinese population who prior have not had access to useful search engines. This is seen as essential because of the rapid increase in technology, to ensure the developing, yet forefront nation, does not get left behind global progression. Developing an internal search engine allows this process to enable researchers, academics and students, whilst maintaining the social and political values that define China as a communist state. Furthermore, this service allows for the development of the population to enhance significantly, particularly the younger generations who have grown up in the age of technology. This will allow them to be educated more extensively and keep up with their peers in other countries, without corrupting the values of the nation.

Overall, innovator and social entrepreneur, Li, has revolutionised media viewing in China, which allowed for people to use extensive engines rather than sub parr alternatives, which has been seen to be essential due to the extreme restrictions placed on internet browsing within China. This reflects a growing awareness among younger generations to pursue global trends, becoming more reliant on technology and actively profiting on the potentials of the internet despite extensive surveillance and censorship.

Written by Josh Stevens

References:

Success Story 2016, Robin Li Success Story, viewed 1 November 2016, <https://successstory.com/people/robin-li>.

Fu, F. 2016, ‘The list of blocked websites in China’, Sapore Di Cina, viewed 1 November 2016, <http://www.saporedicina.com/english/list-of-blocked-websites-in-china/>.

  1. 2013, ‘The whole story of Baidu’, Marketing China, viewed 1 November 2016, <http://marketingtochina.com/the-whole-story-of-baidu/>.

Go-Globe 2015, Baidu Statistics and Trends (Infographic), viewed 1 November 2016, <http://www.go-globe.com/blog/baidu-statistics/>.

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Posted in D: Chinese Contemporary Culture

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