Baidu’s Robin Li downplays new competition in the search industry
Mar 14, 2019 (China Knowledge) - Baidu chairman and chief executive Robin Li has downplayed the impact of new entrants in the search business on Baidu even as a slowing Chinese economy forces greater consolidation among the country’s internet companies.
The statement comes after Bytedance’s Jinri Toutiao enters the search market by launching an external search function on its app this month to allow users to access content outside of its app.
However, Li has paid little heed to Bytedance’s efforts, saying that Baidu has been investing in AI for the past 10 years and that search itself is a product of AI.
The traditional search business in China has been hit by multiple headwinds in recent times following a slowdown in the Chinese economy and a slowing advertising revenue as a result. In addition, search is still largely PC-based and the rise of the mobile era will place increasing pressure on Baidu as the search giant may find it difficult to maintain its past growth with AI technologies still in the development stage.
In today’s mobile era, apps by Tencent and Bytedance are reported to take up 45% and 13% of user time in China respectively with Chinese netizen spending an average 4.2 hours on mobile apps daily.
For Baidu, the company is keeping up with the mobile era through its app that the company said to have hit 161 daily active users in December last year increasing by 24%. In addition, its short video app Haokan also saw daily active users grow to 19 million in 2018 from 1 million a year ago.
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