Baidu's CEO Pursues Long-Term Growth
Google Inc.’s (GOOG) pullback in China earlier this year left homegrown giant Baidu Inc. (BIDU) more dominant than ever as China’s biggest search engine.
Now, Robin Li, Baidu’s chief executive, must figure out new ways to grow amid immense investor expectations.
Mr. Li, a soft-spoken 41-year-old engineer who co-founded Baidu in 2000 after a stint in Silicon Valley, dismisses concerns that growth in Baidu’s core China search business will dry up anytime soon. With more than two-thirds of China’s population not yet Internet users, Mr. Li says search advertising will remain Baidu’s main growth driver for five to 15 years.
But he is looking to develop other revenue streams, including overseas and from ads on content pages created by Baidu or partners. He would also consider buying foreign Internet companies.
Baidu has played down its benefit from Google’s moving 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 percent, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Google’s share fell by about the same amount—to 24 percent.