Baidu is the leading search engine in China. It was launched in 2000 and was developed by Robin Li and Eric Xu. Both studied and worked abroad before returning to China. Today, Baidu offers the entire search package: Image, video and news search, they also offer a legal search. Baidu was the first offer for wap- and pda-based mobile search in China.

Language Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese

Launched January 18, 2000
Closed No

Developer Li, Robin and Eric Xu

Country of Origin China

2000 - [...] Baidu, Inc.

Topic Universal

Region China, Brazil, Japan

Technical functionalities
Robot/Crawler based, algorithmic search

Used SeEn Baidu

Robot: Baidu Spider (Source)

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

Robin Li, the founder of Baidu, the largest search engine in China worked in the nineteenth at Infoseek on the core search team with about 7 other engineers. Source

Taipei Times (Sep 17, 2006): »In the summer of 1998 at a picnic in Silicon Valley, Eric Xu, a 34-year-old biochemist, introduced his shy, reserved friend Robin Li to John Wu, then the head of Yahoo's search engine team. Li, 30 at the time, was a frustrated staff engineer at Infoseek, an Internet search engine partly owned by Disney, a company with a fading commitment to Infoseek that did not mesh with Li's ongoing passion for search. Like Disney, Wu and Yahoo were also losing interest in the business prospects of search, and Yahoo eventually outsourced all of its search functions to a little startup named Google.

Xu thought the two search guys would hit it off. Wu says he exchanged greetings with Robin Li, but what most impressed him was that despite all of the pessimism surrounding search, Li remained undaunted.

"The people at Yahoo didn't think search was all that important, and so neither did I," says Wu, who is now the chief technology officer at the Chinese Internet company "But Robin seemed very determined to stick with it. And you have to admire what he accomplished." Indeed. A year after the picnic, in 1999, Li founded his own search company in China, naming it Baidu (pronounced "by-DOO").« Source

Wikipedia: »Baidu offers many services, including a Chinese language-search engine for websites, audio files and images. [...]

Baidu was established in 2000 by Robin Li and Eric Xu. Both of the co-founders are Chinese nationals who studied and worked

overseas before returning to China. In March 2015, Baidu ranked 4th overall in the Alexa Internet rankings. During Q4 of 2010, it is estimated that there were 4.02 billion search queries in China of which Baidu had a market share of 56.6%. China's Internet-search revenue share in second quarter 2011 by Baidu is 76%. In December 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index. As of 2006, Baidu provided an index of over 740 million web pages, 80 million images, and 10 million multimedia files. Baidu offers multimedia content including MP3 music, and movies, and is the first in China to offer Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and personal digital assistant (PDA)-based mobile search. [...]

In 1996, while at IDD, Li developed the RankDex site-scoring algorithm for search engines results page ranking and received a US patent for the technology. He later used this technology for the Baidu search engine. In 2000, the company Baidu launched in Beijing, China. The first office was located in a hotel room, which was near Peking University from where Robin graduated.

In 2003, Baidu launched a news search engine and picture search engine, adopting a special identification technology capable of identifying and grouping the articles. [...]

Baidu is the No. 1 search engine in China, controlling 63 percent of China's market share as of January 2010, according to iResearch. The number of Internet users in China had reached 513 million by the end of December 2011, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center. In an August 2010 Wall Street Journal article, Baidu played down its benefit from Google's having moved 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%, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. [...]

On January 9, 2013, Baidu was still number one in the market, with 64.5% of the users, the closest competitor, Qihoo 360, who launched its own search engine in August, has already taken hold of 10.2% users. Following are Google and Sogou.« Source

InfoNIAC (2007): »Being the second largest Internet market in the world after the United States, China is the home of 137 million Web users. This is why Baidu looks forward to become Google’s main competitor.« Source

Baidu Japan: From Spring 2007 to March 16, 2015 Baidu offered a Japanese version of Baidu. Source

Millward, Steven (Apr 17, 2015): »Chinese tech giant Baidu has shut down the Japanese search engine that it first launched in 2007. The site, which used to feature a Japanese-language search engine that hoped to rival Google and Yahoo in the country, now just features a mission statement and a bunch of email addresses for its business partners to reach out to.

A Baidu spokesperson confirmed today to Tech in Asia that the Baidu Japan search engine is now shut. “[B]ut that doesn’t preclude the possibility that we will bring it back one day, or introduce our search technology services through other platforms in Japan,” he added. [...] The search engine actually closed on March 16, the spokesperson said. But it seems that few people have noticed the closure and it hasn’t yet been reported on – a rather awkward indicator of how unsuccessful the venture was. “It’s no secret that Baidu’s Japanese search engine never got much traction. As we stopped updating the index in 2013, search user numbers in the last year or so have been insignificant,” conceded the spokesperson.« Source

Baidu Brazil: From July 18, 2014 till to summer 2015 Baidu offered the Portuguese-language version “Baidu Busca” for Brazil. Source

ANTHONY KUHN (May 3, 2016): »Chinese health and Internet authorities have launched an investigation into Baidu, the country's largest search engine, following the death of a college student who accused Baidu of misleading him to a fraudulent cancer treatment.

Experts believe the scandal will damage the credibility of Baidu's search results, and its long-term economic prospects.

On Monday, news of the government investigation caused Baidu's stock to tumble by nearly 8 percent on the Nasdaq.

The scandal began with a college student from northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Two years ago, then-sophomore Wei Zexi found out he had a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma. After other treatments failed, he turned to Baidu.

His search on Baidu suggested a treatment at the Beijing People's Armed Police Corps Hospital No. 2. It claimed to have a highly effective experimental treatment developed in collaboration with Stanford medical school.

In fact, state media later reported, there was no collaboration. The treatment failed, and Wei accused Baidu of cheating him. [...]

The search result Wei turned up was promoted, in other words paid for, and it was labeled as such, but it's not clear if Wei understood this. What is clear is that many Chinese are furious at Baidu and at the government for what they consider lax regulation.« Source


Wikipedia: »The name Baidu is a quote from the last line of Xin Qiji's classical poem "Green Jade Table in The Lantern Festival" saying: "Having searched thousands of times in the crowd, suddenly turning back, She is there in the dimmest candlelight."

The context of the poem is that in ancient China, girls had to stay indoors, and the Lantern Festival was one of the few times they could go outside. In the chaotic sea of lantern lights, they would sneak away to meet their lovers and exchange promises to meet again next year.

A summary of the entire poem: Flowers bursting into bloom in the sky, stars falling like rain (fireworks/meteor shower), Whole streets filled with perfume, jeweled horses pulling ornate carriages, fish and dragon lanterns dancing throughout the entire night. A body decorated with golden thread and butterfly trinket, laughter that has a subtle fragrance. Having searched for this person until exhaustion, when suddenly turning back by chance, I find her standing lonely in the far end of the street in the waning light.

Many people have asked about the meaning of our name. 'Baidu' was inspired by a poem written more than 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamour with the search for one's dream while confronted by life's many obstacles. '...hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos, suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood.' Baidu, whose literal meaning is hundreds of times, represents persistent search for the ideal. — Robin Li« Source

Critical points

Wikipedia: »According to the China Digital Times, Baidu has a long history of being the most proactive and restrictive online censor in the search arena. Documents leaked in April 2009 from an employee in Baidu's internal monitoring and censorship department show a long list of blocked websites and censored topics on Baidu search. In May 2011, pro-democracy activists sued Baidu for violating the U.S. constitution by the censorship it conducts in accord with the demand of the Chinese government.[87] A U.S. judge has ruled[88] that the Chinese search engine Baidu has the right to block pro-democracy works from its query results, dismissing a lawsuit that sought to punish the company for Internet censorship.« Source

Features & Functionality

Wikipedia: »Baidu offers several services to locate information, products and services using Chinese-language search terms, such as, search by Chinese phonetics, advanced search, snapshots, spell checker, stock quotes, news, knows, postbar, images, video and space information, and weather, train and flight schedules and other local information. The user-agent string of Baidu search engine is Baiduspider.« Source


»On July 18, 2014, the company launched a Brazilian version of the search engine, Baidu Busca. [...] Baidu started its Japanese language search service, run by Baidu Japan, the company's first regular service outside of China [in 2007]. It includes a search bar for web pages and image searches, user help and advanced services. The Japanese search engine closed on March 16, 2015.« Source

References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN):
Wikipedia (Others):

Other Sources

China Analyst:, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) URL:
The Baidu Story URL:
Li, Yanhong (Jul/Aug 1998): Toward a qualitative search engine URL:
Taipei Times (Sep 17, 2006): Robin Li's vision powers Baidu's Internet search dominance URL:
Chmielewski, Dawn C. (December 10, 2007): Search site moves at the speed of China URL:
Greenberg, Andy (9/16/2009): The Man Who's Beating Google URL:
Lawton, Tait (01/18/2012): Pretty Graphs on Chinese Internet User Demographics, January, 2012 URL:
BBC News (12 January 2010): Baidu hacked by 'Iranian cyber army' URL:
Branigan, Tania (13 January 2010): Google to end censorship in China over cyber attacks URL:
Stempel, Jonathan (05/19/2011): China, Baidu Sued In U.S. For Internet Censorship URL:
Marketing China (9th January 2013): SEO agency in China URL:
Statista: Annual revenue of Baidu from 2007 to 2014 (in billion U.S. dollars) URL:
China Stock Research (Sep. 1, 2014): China Search Engine Market Share - August 2014 URL:
Bischoff, Paul (Jul 18, 2014): China web giant Baidu launches search engine in Brazil URL:
InfoNIAC (23 Mar, 2007): China's Google in Japan URL:
Millward, Steven (Apr 17, 2015): After 8 years of failing, Baidu shuts Japan search engine URL:
ANTHONY KUHN (May 3, 2016): China Investigates Search Engine Baidu After Student Dies Of Cancer URL:
Hannes Ben (Oct 11, 2016): The key APAC search engine updates you need to know about URL:
Xinhua (2017): Chinese search engine operators fined for false Internet ads URL:
Metamend: Baidu Search Engine Optimization Information URL:
Is China redirecting access from search engines to Baidu? URL:

Created: 2013-01-22