Baidu CEO Robin Li expresses relief that AI investment is paying off

Robin Li, CEO of Chinese search engine provider Baidu, has spoken out about his relief that the company’s investment in AI is beginning to pay off, and what a mistake it was to not invest similarly in mobile internet in the past.

Li has an estimated wealth of $18.3bn and his company has put considerable amounts of money into artificial intelligence research and development over the past few years.

Li spoke at the GeekPark forum on Sunday in Beijing and Baidu has verified his comments. He has said that the company is seeing rewards for its investment.

See also:

Asia Business Chief, January issue

Baidu announces plans for self-driving bus

William Bao Bean: Chinese investment in AI similar to internet revolution

“We started to deploy AI about six or seven years ago. Now that AI us become mature enough to have some use in the market, we feel relatively more relaxed, feel that this day has finally come.”

Three years ago things looked uncertain as Baidu failed to make appropriate provisions for a global shift to mobile internet. Investors began to pull out.

Rivals Alibaba and Tencent were on board with the change, but the search engine giant missed the boat somewhat on capturing the smartphone user market.

Li explained that he did not take a lot of action in the early 2000s when warned to prepare for mobile internet simply because “we didn’t know how to make mobile internet better”.

He didn’t see the attraction: “My feeling at the time was how important can the mobile phone be? The screen is so small, the speed is so slow… with time, this attitude led to a sort of numbness, a feeling that it may not come at all…”

Li continued: “Until around 2011 when the mobile internet era really came about, many people have already positioned themselves and we have not – that was bad.”

However, recently Baidu was chosen to be part of China’s “national team” for AI.

Li might not be advised to rest on his laurels yet, but things are looking up as unlike mobile internet, Baidu has got involved with AI at just the right time.


Featured Articles

People Moves: Pine Labs, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey, Fortinet

Pine Labs names former Amazon exec as chief people officer, Fortinet hires government affairs leader for APAC, McKinsey India poaches Accenture HR exec

Dialight envisions a world of industrial safety with LEDs

Reliance on inefficient lighting technologies are not only harmful to the environment, but also increase injury risk and cost

Top 10: Must-see speakers at TECH LIVE LONDON 2022 event

Technology leaders from IBM, Oracle, Vodafone, JP Morgan, Accenture and the US Space Force are among the 80-plus speakers at upcoming TECH LIVE LONDON

Vodafone Business cyber leader Kawalec speaks at Cyber LIVE

Leadership & Strategy

Twitter timeline – how Musk pulled off a hostile takeover

Leadership & Strategy

Top 10 Asia restaurants, from Tokyo’s Den to Bangkok’s Sorn

Leadership & Strategy