Often referred to as China’s Google, Baidu, Inc. (BIDU) was founded in 2000. Baidu is a provider of Internet search platform in Chinese language. Its users are therefore the Mandarin speaking population. It provides Chinese-language Internet search services to enable users to find relevant information online, including Web pages, news, images, documents and multimedia files, through links provided on its Websites.
Baidu is also a provider of online marketing services, much like the pay-per-click advertising that is offered by Google. Most of Baidu’s online marketing customers are the numerous cottage, small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) found all over China, as well as large Chinese corporations or branches of large, multinational companies located in China. As at 2011, Baidu boasted of patronage of its online marketing services from more than 480,000 clients.
On July 20, 2011, the Company acquired 62.01% of the interest of Qunar. In May 2013, Baidu Inc announced the acquisition of the online video business of Internet video provider PPS.
Products and Services
Baidu offers users the following products and services:
- Search products: Baidu’s search products include the web search, image search, video search, web directory, news, Hao123.com, group buying directory and the Open Platform.
- social-networking products such as Post Bar, the Personalized Homepage, Baidu Share and Baidu Space.
- Content-based knowledge products posted by users such as Baidu Knows, Baidu Encyclopedia, Baidu WenKu and Baidu Experience.
- location-based products such as Baidu Map Search and Baidu Shenbian.
- music products such as Baidu Ting, Baidu MP3 Search and Baidu TT Player.
- PC client software such as the Baidu web browser, the ToolBar and Media Player.
- mobile related products and services
- Other Products from associate sites such as Qunar, a real-time flight search engine as well as a hotel and group-buying deal package. There is also the job site known Baijob.com as well BaiduPay which is an online payment service.
Interesting Facts About Baidu
Baidu realized early on that the Chinese market of 1.5 billion people was nearly equivalent to a large segment of the global market. It also capitalized on the relatively closed Chinese economy which prohibited Google and many Western companies from operating in China to launch services which these other companies were offering, strictly for the Chinese-speaking market. As such, Baidu has a near monopoly in China in all the market spheres that it operates in. This is one of the factors that has made Baidu one of the most valuable companies in the world.
What Does the Future Hold for Baidu Investors?
Baidu has several business interests spanning several areas of business. Its core e-commerce business is booming and its recent Singles Day sales on November 11, 2015 smashed all sales records for e-commerce sites, raking in more than $5bn within the first hour of trading alone. Baidu’s e-commerce division does not seem to slowing anytime soon and surely all must be well with the company. However, a slew of lawsuits followed the company’s IPO listing, as many manufacturers have accused the company of providing an outlet for copycats and outright forgeries of their products to be sold on its platforms without inhibition.
The sale of substandard and fake goods on Baidu is one which the company has promised to confront, but this is surely one which will take the shine off the company. Investors do not usually look well upon companies who have to start paying off millions or even billions of dollars in fines and compensation as a result of these kinds of lawsuits.
So as Baidu’s business grows in leaps and bounds, investors must be wary of some of the battles the company is waging against these lawsuits and against sellers of fake goods on its platforms. There is also mounting competition from several e-commerce platforms.