is the leading Chinese-language [[List:search-engine|search engine]]

Baidu(ray) is a Chinese-language based search engine. In addition to being the leading Chinese-language search engine, Baidu is the fourth most popular website in the world (according to Alexa rankings on 20 September 2006), falling short of rival companies Yahoo!, MSN and Google.


Beyond being a simple search engine site, Baidu -- like it's competitors -- has expanded its reach into other services, centered around their search engine, establishing themselves as a major player in the growing internet and technology field in Beijing, China and the world.

According to a recent article in the New York Times (17 September 2006), "Because China is the world's fastest-growing major economy, analysts consider it the next great Internet battleground, with Baidu uniquely positioned to prosper from that competition."

To that extent, the company launched Baidu Space -- a blogging site -- in July 2006, capitalizing on estimates showing nearly 60 million Chinese language bloggers by the end of 2006 and 100 million by 2007. With 15% of all blogs in the world written in Chinese (compared to 30% in English), Baidu hopes that this service, in addition to their Google-like click through advertising program is but a step towards their goals.

Among the other products offered by Baidu are:

  • A Q&A service
  • Weather
  • Discussion groups
  • An encyclopedia
  • A subscription-based service that supports movie downloads
  • Maps

Baidu's success has come with some criticism. They've taken some flak over their MP3 downloading service, which until a year ago allowed users to download third-party MP3s directly from the search results in Baidu. (This was changed in an attempt at a compromise with the music publishers over issue.)

Beyond the criticism is the numbers though. Since it's inception in 1999, Baidu has a market value of $3 billion and is the fourth-most trafficked website in the world. They recently announced an open source software development collaboration with the Chinese government's Ministry of Information Industry Software and Integrated Circuit Promotion Center, further entrenching themselves in the Chinese technology market.

About the Name

Excerpted from the website:

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.

Further Readings

More information about Baidu in the news and on the internet:

Alexa rankings and information for Baidu
Baidu product listing
New York Times: The Rise of Baidu (That's Chinese for Google) (17 September 2006)
(CNET News: Alternate Link)
Tech News World: Baidu Tests Open Source Waters (13 September 2006)
China Daily: China's Baidu to offer blog service (29 June 2006)
Gotowow (29 June 2006)
BBC News: Google offloads Baidu investment (23 June 2006)
The China Daily: Baidu removes free music download links (25 October 2005)
USA Today: Baidu facing the music over MP3 function (2 October 2005)


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Contact, Robin Li
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