June 8, Dali top floor Executive Lounge Hilton Hotel, just finished the end of a speech Li half leaning on a comfortable white sofa, taking into account the pressure and attack Baidu suffered in the past month, his radiant glow somewhat surprising. "I've been wondering why we come to this?" Li said on the "financial" reporter.
In early 2016, even the most pessimistic analysts do not think of the Internet, this total market capitalization of $ 65 billion in 2015 net profit more than 5.19 billion US dollars, an increase of 155% of Chinese Internet giant will be at home suffered such heavy losses.
April 12, a university student suffering from cancer through Baidu Wei is a West Sponsored Links attempt died after receiving treatment died in the next month, Baidu has become the focus question. Public opinion, Baidu should bear the major responsibility for this.
And Baidu these crises differ, the West Wei event brought a rare one-sided accusations - including the official media, "People's Daily" and the Xinhua News Agency, including a large number of media, these listed companies was overwhelming criticism. On social networks, users called for a boycott Baidu, others called for the return of Google China. Some medium-sized competitors, the opportunity to play - a website CEO Robin Li to write an open letter, saying that Baidu's rise as China's largest flow inlet, resulting in a large number of business decline.
Meanwhile, Baidu became the first survey of government departments, it had been as a Google rival, government regulation window officially supported. "The government has put away the umbrella behind Baidu." One Internet critic, said "financial" reporter.
June 13, Baidu cut its quarterly revenue forecast. Baidu expects second-quarter 2016 revenue of 2.81 billion -28.2 billion, lower than the previous estimate of 3.05 billion -31.2 billion. Moody's rating agency released a report June 15, 2016, Baidu expects revenue growth to slow in 2015 from 35-15%.
More direct effect is the price. US stocks ended June 17 closing, Baidu stock price at $ 163.71, down 15.7% within two months, the market value fell from $ 68 billion to about $ 56.3 billion, has shrunk to about $ 11.7 billion. Ali is less than ($ 192.7 billion) and Tencent ($ 204.8 billion) market capitalization third. Some arguments that Baidu is farewell BAT camp.
In the nation's largest community Q & A on almost known, an article entitled "How the West Baidu employees treat Wei event," the post, Baidu employees, former employees, partners contributed 672 answered. Employee quote "The Shawshank Redemption" in the sentence: "just jail time, you hate walls around, slowly, you get used to a life in which, eventually you find yourself having to rely on it to survive." Another bit Baidu employees claimed that there has been a week that he did not dare eat invoiced at the restaurant because the waiter did not want to hear the next table and he is a person Baidu.
From reputation to stock prices, income from the trust, Baidu is in crisis.
This time from the highest point of Baidu shares the past 19 months (November 28, 2014, Baidu stock price of $ 251.99, the market value of 86.8 billion US dollars). In earlier 2011, the market value of Baidu over Tencent become the first Chinese Internet companies first. The same year, Li became China's richest man, and delivered a speech, saying that Baidu to "win the respect of the world for the Chinese."
The evaluation found that the majority of the industry, Baidu today's situation, not because of a particular event, but rather a cumulative process. It reflects a systemic problem, the problem is business ethics as the basis, business strategy, corporate management-oriented, public opinion and at the same time under the enlarged competition, the emergence of the integrated results.
Only unraveling study to explore how the crisis Baidu to know this Chinese star technology companies Gairuhezou crisis.
Under the premise of not illegal pursuit of maximizing the commercial value, is reflected in the values of commercial Baidu, Robin Li is the bottom line. But on important issues related to the society and people's livelihood, it is not enough just business values
Into the summer of 2016 the first week of Baidu is undoubtedly beginning of winter.
The world's largest Chinese search engine, because the dead youth Shaanxi Wei of the West brought to the cusp. Net survey by the National Information Office led the establishment of a joint investigation team reported that Baidu PPC search-related keyword results, the objective of the West Wei choose medical treatment had an impact.
PPC, buy keyword refers to the first few search results position, then an auction to sell the business link advertising purposes. Which is goto.com company (later renamed Overture) created and adopted in 1998 and since then, almost all search engines were born out of this business model, including Google.
Since 2006, Baidu has not arranged entirely according to the level of the bid results. In 2009, Baidu launched phoenix nest system, the introduction of "quality metrics" (including click rate, creative quality, account performance, etc.) in the PPC, the price and the "quality of" joint decision ordering.
"PPC itself is a reasonable and legitimate business model has been widely used all over the world of search, all of the ads are PPC." Zhou Hongyi, chairman of 360 company? Say In an interview with the "Financial" reporter. 360 search engine market share in China after Baidu, known occupies about 30% share.
Search engines are a tool, the tool is no sin. Baidu PPC has been criticized, the problem is not in the PPC business model, and in the implementation of this business model path and guidelines.
For example, in the confusion of the ad or natural search results, Google is a strong mark, Baidu is weak label; for example, prior to November 2011, Google does not sell the left page ad, only to sell right of the page advertising, and Baidu started selling on the open left side, and the number of ads per screen than Google, and later more and more; in some of the areas that should be handled with care - medical, Baidu could not resist the temptation of commerce.
May 2016, Li wrote in his open letter acknowledged that short-term KPI (key performance indicators) chase to make the company "and the user lopsided."
In 2000 the Internet bubble is about to burst on the occasion, Li founded Baidu. Five years later, Baidu listed on Nasdaq, the US capital markets has created the highest single-day gain of overseas companies 200 years.
Over the past decade, the company is like a high-speed train travel. Its market capitalization grew by 27 times, total revenue in 2005 from 319 million yuan in 2015 rose to 66.4 billion yuan. It gives huge returns to shareholders, and to achieve the maximum flow rate value, this advantage also migrated to the mobile terminal (Baidu currently over 50% of revenue from mobile) - From this perspective, Li is a successful entrepreneur he created the great commercial value of a listed company.
In profit and return, the contribution of medical customers on Baidu contributed. According to BOCOM International in April 2015 published research reported, it is estimated that in 2013 and 2014, Baidu Web search revenue was 28.6 billion yuan, 42.9 billion yuan, of which an estimated contribution Putian lines to Baidu earnings were 22% , 19%, while the contribution of the entire health care promotion Baidu more revenue.
On the first day baidu.com birth, Li has proposed a "search engine Three Laws." From one of the "law of self-confidence" to get a glimpse of Baidu on PPC Philosophy: Who have confidence in their own websites, whoever front. The confident performance of this ranking is willing to pay more.
He told the "Financial" reporter, for users, it is not a commercial promotion is not important is the results did not meet his needs. "PPC results and the most relevant search results for users, it may not hurt the user experience. For this concept, we have not had the results and the promotion of natural search results to distinguish so clearly." He paused and added, but it does also bring a lot of complaints.
Based on the above law, we believe Li: Sometimes the natural search results but not good PPC results. For example, search for "dry cleaners to join," Baidu advertisers are vetted, qualified guarantee, while appearing in "natural search for" dry cleaners to join in, the presence of this company does not exist, no one knows.
June 8, Li told the "Financial" reporter interview that the West Wei event, and Baidu contract is a top three hospital, which complete qualification, appears in the legally operate. Later, Baidu removed all military and police hospitals advertising system, which is a measure of Wei and the West the most relevant event.
China's third-largest search engine Sogou CEO Wang Xiaochuan on the "Financial" reporter, said, "Health is a special industry, we need to take to help users identify social responsibility."
Hong Zhou? Believes that "three laws of search engines" in the medical industry are disabled. Because health care is a serious shortage of supply industries, a regular hospital is not good to spend money to advertise the search engine.
"The last result in this (medical) industry, the more money, basically the bad guys." He said, PPC like drugs, then suck on hard to quit. May 2016, 360 search renounce all medical business promotion.
Weak social regulation, companies often need to have their own higher moral discipline, had to bear part of the responsibility should be borne by the government. Known Internet commentators Hongbo "financial" reporters that Baidu did wrong in the birth of their volume and influence to match mature business ethics.
"If the promotion of a more clearly marked, we will accept the higher level, I is not the problem." "Wei is the West incident" broke out, Li "financial" told reporters. After this correction, Baidu control business promotion information accounted for no more than 30%, at the same time strengthened the word "business promotion" label strength.
Under the premise of not illegal pursuit of maximizing business value, business value is Baidu, Robin Li is the bottom line. But in relation to social and livelihood issues, just business values is not enough. "The two cultures eventually need to focus on a dead college up the release of all conflict." Tencent a source said.
"Baidu that there are likely to become a great company, of course, the future is also possible. But now, it is only a profitable company." Years ago, worked at a high-level source said Baidu.
"If you go the wrong company's culture and values, then necessarily a problem." Li said, this is his biggest concern now
"We are conscious and have long raised the issue." The former employee said Baidu, Baidu had been internal debate to Yu Jun, represented by the product team insisted to completely change, the abolition of the "gray zone" of advertisers, while Shen Hao Yu, Baidu COO any, represented by the operations teams were against. A product team executives at the meeting said: "The future can not be this way, Baidu to become a great company the only reason." Finally, the two sides reached a consensus - gradually changed.
At this meeting, Li did not show up.
Soon after, "CCTV crisis" erupted - October 2008, CCTV reported two consecutive days Baidu's sales staff to help customers fraud, extortion and even the existence of marketing is suspect.
June 8, Li to "financial" correspondent recalls that the crisis was more because Baidu CCTV in the sales management system does have loopholes. "Then we quickly blocked off the leak."
In the past the internal Baidu, sales representatives, and representatives of commercial power users, the power of the product evenly matched, they each contain mutual compromise. Until 2009 - 2011, the product of several generations of Baidu, director of Yu Jun, Jiang Bian, Li Jian, represented have left, breaking the balance of the balance.
Baidu sales network in the rapid expansion of 2003 - The 2009 is also the Baidu product innovation during the peak period. At that stage was born on Baidu history star products such as Baidu Post Bar, know that Wikipedia and other. Baidu was 21 product lines, with the amount of users billions of dollars of goods have 7 -8. December 2003, a record month Baidu simultaneously on six product lines.
"Conflict is the mother of innovation." Baidu a former product director told the "Financial."
"The whole purpose of our work is to make this thing leveled access to information." The former director said they believe that any blocking of information dissemination acts are immoral. Even the spread itself is immoral, they will have the information, knowledge, all spread out, to meet the user. That is why they want to do against the risk of piracy Baidu Library reasons.
Baidu, a former employee told the "Financial" correspondent, Baidu has many of the principles is not known to outsiders, it is the principle of product technology sector, but not the entire company principles. For example, Baidu do MP3, using only the chain, do not download any song in their last; Baidu early ringtones subscription packages and determined not to game; do Baidu news, in principle, there is no human editors, before 2009, Baidu News There is no post an edited.
"I remember Baidu years ago, to the user's 1 point and night to track down the problem. Year we know users will listen to them after the meet, will be for each code, each feature more responsible. Responsible Internet users, only the achievements of today's Baidu. "Baidu is still serving an old employee said.
With Baidu Yu Jun and other representatives of the early product concepts, values, leave the original evenly matched two forces began imbalance. Results from the current point of view - began to dominate the search business, and technology products for business services.
"Most product lines have great (commercial) of pressure." A Baidu employee said.
In February 2016, because the contract to a third party the right to operate it for hemophilia partner operators, Baidu Post Bar outbreak. Background posted it first began in 2015, commercialized, but this time from the paste it was founded 12 years have passed.
Baidu is currently a staff told reporters today in the search on Baidu saw a lot of problems, such as a keyword search, what to see, after seeing what, "largely not a technical problem, but a problem product ideas . "
In contrast, in Baidu, technology, marketing, sales staff more opportunities for advancement system. Baidu is currently senior vice president, president of the search to the Dragon 15 years ago, general manager of Baidu is only one agent in 2005, his company was acquired by Baidu, Baidu join the Dragon.
Dragon is not high to the tall, stern. He never called his subordinates and clients to socialize, but led the team to three consecutive years to maintain rapid growth of more than 200% in 2007, the Dragon was promoted to general manager of the Beijing branch, three months later was promoted to vice president of Baidu's sales. In 2011, to become vice president of Baidu's commercial operating system. By 2015, the group became one of three business Baidu's search business group (SSG) person in charge. 2016, SSG and mobile services business group (MSG) for the combined search company Baidu, the Dragon became CEO.
Baidu has three SVP (Senior Vice President), Wang Jin is responsible for technology in December 2013 was promoted to senior vice president of Baidu, in charge of sales of the Dragon in October 2014 was promoted to SVP. June 22 this year, Zhu Guangcheng to Baidu third SVP, Zhu joined Baidu in 2008, responsible for marketing and public relations business first in Baidu.
Another part of the staff believes that "promotion is extremely difficult, especially early in the product system, almost impossible to upsize." A former employee said Baidu, Baidu when the seven founders and Cui Shanshan Guo gaze intently to leave, job or Baidu senior Director, at a time when they have worked for the company for ten years. When the current co-founder of the US group are technical manager Mu Rong leave as Baidu, only the hands of dozens of sub-company shares.
In this round of adjustment, Baidu map, paste it into other products are also classified under the Dragon.
"Baidu has a very thick thighs, called the search, called cash Rather than fight a user accustomed to not develop into a new market, it is better this quarter, the company earn 500 million to complete the KPI, promoted faster and more bonuses. "Baidu search a company's current employees said.
"Those new entrants, including executives, their values for Baidu in the end is what? There may be a misunderstanding." Li said.
In recent years, with the rapid growth of Baidu, the number of personnel department of a large number of expansion, which leads directly to the dilution of the early Baidu values. Li said that this is his worst fears.
Baidu's corporate culture is simple and reliable, 80% of people are early product technical staff. "And now there are 50,000 employees in the Division 2 million people age does not exceed two years, in the past three years we have doubled the number of employees continue, but their relationship to Baidu, and Baidu for cultural integration is very limited." The middle Baidu He told reporters, "we not only want to beat the outside, and inside."
"In the Baidu for polished edges and corners." Baidu a high-level employee said. In Baidu work, tired just started six months after the adaptation pressure is not great. But Baidu values assessment in fact very strict, "360 score, fill in your own score, the higher the score, the lower the score, scoring the same level."
In 2014, an outbreak of Baidu internal debate about corporate culture. The cause is a post within the network, employees believe that Baidu's corporate culture is a problem, but management insisted Baidu's corporate culture is still very good - they argued about this a few thousand pages.
The results of this big debate is, a series of cultural slumber Baidu employees together, share each other's culture Baidu story.
Baidu person in a product sector work eight years ago told the "Financial" reporter, when they joked, Baidu's dream is - only Baidu, no Internet. Users can index and find any information and services you need on Baidu.
"It takes more than a strong executive power and more crazy heart, they are most proud of China's Internet was a group of people. And now, you can hardly find such pride in Baidu person." He looked a little frustrated.
"He felt his great sense of crisis, but why the entire company looks no sense of crisis?"
February 17, 2015, two days away from the Spring Festival, Li went to Baidu rice office in a circle, found that the company did not have a holiday, many employees have not come to work.
Before he had just learned that the micro-channel 269 million yuan red envelope to win the exclusive right to interact with the cooperation of the Spring Festival. This is the name of a rational and cool-headed entrepreneur control his emotions a bit, executives decided to call out together for dinner, even more the case that he appeared angry - more than half of the executives have not leave to Beijing.
Li had never disclosed to executives and employees to vent their emotions, he was always very calm, sometimes people think he did not even temperature. This time, a lot of people a rare Baidu felt his dissatisfaction.
July 2015, at the CEO Summit in San Francisco venture capital firm DCM, held in front of about 150 entrepreneurs and investors, Li said Baidu regret when led into the mobile Internet era, no earlier action.
Baidu was founded in 15 years, Li has always been focused on the search for that one thing, the vast majority of products and technological innovation-based industry and services only. At the same time, the overwhelming attention to indicators because the data do not lie - thanks to experience in the early years of Robin Jones working at this provider of financial information by overwriting the number of the world's most abundant source of information and the development of publishing index, this subversion of the traditional industry newsletter. Li in here, "Wall Street Journal" has developed the world's first real-time financial network systems.
In Google, KPI is a "target", it is often the indicators are very high, but also has considerable latitude. And Li will be treated as a commitment KPI. "Less committed, more cash" in Baidu is considered one of the tenets of the company culture.
In earlier speeches and interviews, Li stressed that the most common word is "do what you love and are good at, moderately abandon unrealistic dreams."
Li said, Google two years times 20 AI scientists have developed AlphaGo. Baidu in this project will be rejected. "We ask that you spend so much energy to do a thing in the end to achieve what value?" He believes that Baidu's main resources should be placed on a more promising direction of the market, not only to develop a next Go robot.
Li on the costs and benefits cautious, vigilant and careful attitude. Who has worked in the marketing department staff Baidu said that, under a contract signed and handed Li, he will start from the first page, a word a word to see, sometimes very thick contract, he also insisted on watching. In this process, Li often silent, after reading that he would ask two questions, answer signing up, could not answer and come back to find out. "Whether you're ready to get better, he can always ask a few let you unexpected problems."
Said former employees said a Baidu employee meeting once and Li found that he is doing an excel table, which details the seven or eight vehicles performance, weight, price, or even the size of the trunk, seat width. The employee quipped, the richest man in China, you may be the last hand to do a excel table to weigh people buy a car. Li looked at each other saying, "We still have to remain rational."
"I'm not the most adventurous person, I take the risk after all my analysis, after research, I think the risk is worth taking before going to take." Li said.
Chinese entrepreneur Robin Li is not in the traditional sense, he believed that the power of digital technology and do not believe people; more independent decision-making, unsocial.
Part of the reason "Post Bar incident" broke out, it is believed that excessive force from Li mechanisms. He told the "financial" before commercialization posted it, he asked subordinates, sell it will bring serious consequences? He got him a most eloquent answer - guaranteed not an accident, "We have a mechanism."
"Then think, no matter what kind of rules, even if there are a thousand times doing the right thing, but as long as a mistake, the consequences will be very serious." He said. Later Baidu full cessation of the disease it kind of commercialization.
Mobile Internet first two years, the company is being questioned because of the conservative strategy, one important reason is that Baidu's decision-making system in one person.
An entrepreneur told reporters that the reason for his departure is within Baidu Baidu venture failed, he wrote a 78 PPT to Robin Li, but Li soon after approval, a year and no sector financial allocations, so he left entrepreneurship.
An Alibaba executives told the "Financial" reporter, Ali, strategic thinking Ma is in the air, Di Xiaren depends on feeling. But Ma does specific things as directed, it is a great space.
"In Baidu, Robin Li, if not make decisions, people do not make decisions." An investment bank through cooperation with Baidu Li evaluation, during meetings he often started without a word, and ultimately the final word.
In May this year, Baidu dismissed the vice president, the "father of Baidu to promote" call of Wang Zhan, on the grounds that "damage the company's interests." Last year, the whole company to give him a big party and awarded a trophy, a trophy that says the number 15, which he joined Baidu's first 15 years.
"Li is extremely forbear, restraint," says one Baidu middle "financial", he said he could only follow the data and indicators to deal with everything, but he was hard to face, to deal with a person, so he was always a beginning choose to avoid, but once unbearable, he will make a direct decision did unflinchingly. "Perhaps Li should be sooner rather than ruthlessly to dispose of an old employee."
"Maybe in six other companies, not leave. For Baidu is not even a year, I think two, three, within three years if you still can not become Baidu person, I really do not want you a. However, in these three years, he might have been with a group of people are biased off. "Li said.
Tencent, Zhang Zhidong Ma there are still companies such suggestions partner, Ali, more than 30 Ma, "Ali partners." And now Baidu, Robin Li and only 50,000 employees.
A former Baidu told reporters, Li once saw an article entitled "Baidu venture full-service veterans seven swordsman, a loner Li" Post reported, "an instant mood is very low."
"Early on, everyone can argue with him. So some people like him, people do not like him, but now these are not important, because everyone guess the boss in the end thinking?" The source said.
Li told the "Financial" reporter, sometimes because of fear of being misunderstood outside, so many years he has been to suppress their expression. "In fact, I'm really scared, time will numb, and especially familiar habits and surroundings will communicate." Li said Baidu need to continue to recruit these young people, continue to nurture young people.
To some extent, indicators and data become his staff and the most direct and effective communication tool.
Li said, "the West Wei event" Let him for so many years to adhere to the idea of more or less doubt. "We may not be so pragmatism, idealism should probably add some color, so we will be more like you."
Two years ago, a middle-management conference Baidu, Robin Li carefully prepared a PPT, show a photo library of Alexandria, he said: "Alexandria was once the world's first flow of the first, when they collected books and out of cargo these books are regarded as more important than gold and silver treasures. eventually they will build the library then civilized world, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and Alexandria became the center of the known world. "
"I want Baidu built in the center of innovation." This entrepreneur finished, everyone seemed to were shocked. One participant asked: "What do we do wrong?"
Smooth and miss
"In a sense, our approach is relatively conservative, the search is considered a meritorious good thing, in fact, we could have done more."
Character determines destiny, fate come back to strengthen character.
In the industry view, Baidu over the past 11 years of development is a smooth, it is fortunate to avoid the impact of the Internet bubble, and any pressure on the cash flow does not appear, in the same period this enterprise is very rare. After 2010 Google out of China, Baidu is more lonely, it is no longer in their main field of rivals.
Chinese search market is an oligopoly, a large number of companies rely on Baidu's traffic beyond the imagination of outsiders - in 2011, the US group has more than 50% of traffic from Baidu. This advantage even extended to the mobile era, in the early, drops travel is the largest source of traffic from Baidu map.
Baidu's heyday, due to its dependence and fear, entrepreneurs will be white in order to give Baidu shares bickered --2008 year in order to obtain exclusive rights Baidu in the video, and pay Baidu Youku 300 million and donated less than 1% of the shares, and Ku6 places pay six million yuan in cash and 3% of the shares presented to Baidu, Baidu finally won. At the time, Baidu and other advertising resource replacement in some emerging company's shares, in order to establish domination.
Since then, the Internet into the social and transaction times from the information age, Baidu no longer the only dominant. When Baidu price needs to be planned outside investment, which reflects the conservative, cautious side. They tend to gather clear market prospects resource-based industries to invest, rather than popular or not a correct understanding of the company. Baidu investment in holding that period, accounting for a large share-based, typically is Iqiyi holding and where to go.
After 2014, in order to expand their spheres of influence, BAT rushing startups. Baidu obviously felt the pressure, it invested in a series of HJ network (holding 12.5%), Uber (15% stake), I bought net, net interest doctors, Unisphere film and other 28 enterprises, involving electricity supplier, used car each vertical field transactions, online ticketing, online education. At the same time, not to pursue holding.
According to authoritative international financial data provider Dealogic data to the "financial" provided, from 2008 to 2015, a total of Baidu shares of 48 companies. Among them, 2008 and 2010, each one since 2011 and since 2012, all five, then gathered speed in 2013, invested in seven, 10 cases in 2014, in 2015 it reached 18 cases.
Compare Alibaba, which from 2008 to 2015, a total of 109 shares of the company. Tencent seven years a total of 126 shares of the company.
2013 invested $ 1.85 billion on 91 acquisitions has been speculation that Baidu focus on the outbreak of anxiety. 360, chairman of Hong Zhou admitted that he had to convince the two went to Xiamen to 91 wireless CEO Wu Chak Man Baidu bidding.
A source close to the US delegation, told reporters early Baidu had the opportunity to invest 2 billion yuan valuation of the US group, the US group holds a 5% stake, but ultimately choose Baidu holds a cheaper price - 1.6 billion dollars rice network 59% controlling stake.
2015 years after the fall of the US group is in the final negotiations and reviews, they hope to complete the merger within two weeks. In the last few days, Baidu broke in and gives a valuation of 50 billion yuan US corporations, hoping to bring the US group and rice combined. "Too late." The source said.
Li said, the significance of rice for Baidu Baidu realize that it allows connection and service, this is the biggest reason for his support for rice. But it is undeniable, O2O into this immense project also greatly thwarting Baidu.
According to Nomura Securities on Baidu Q1 2016 earnings analysis that its Q1 profit fell 18.6%, mainly due to continued O2O investment. Guoxin Securities, February 29, 2016 published research reported, Baidu O2O future risks mainly in increased competition and lower than expected growth in online advertising.
Partner of one US dollar fund reviews said Baidu in mobile force later on, but also the most anxiety. Meanwhile, Baidu's investment O2O investment in unmanned vehicles, and other emerging financial services, will require substantial financial support.
"Search has become the biggest blood transfusion service channels, which in endless search to sum pressure imbalance. This is a cycle Baidu current predicament." He said.
"Financial" correspondent interviewed a number of people believe that Baidu should be made early in the obvious advantages of a more far-reaching distribution of more vertical industries to support, in-depth industry chain, from in-depth information layer to the service layer. Because of an ecological platform, only video and tourism is not enough.
Jingdong a senior told the "Financial", more than 70% early Jingdong traffic from Baidu, Baidu after 2010 had the opportunity to have a business platform for packaging ah Jingdong, Jingdong through investment in exchange for 15% -20% of the shares, Li eventually did not agree. These shares worth $ 5.8 billion today.
But the Internet is such that it is destined to miss a lot of things.
Out of winter
Baidu crisis appears today, there are technical reasons, the product, there are reasons management culture. Compared to the former, the latter is more of a challenge to Baidu
"We have for a long time did not give the user a truly innovative new products." Li said, to some extent, Baidu still too conservative. "We need to innovate, so we lack of Baidu, the degree of tolerance for Baidu will be much higher."
"In a very impressive main business income of the company is very difficult to do innovation," said an Alibaba Group executives told the "Financial", "even if the same is true for Google, but if a company only in a product success, it is difficult to say it is luck or foresight. "
A micro-channel employee told the "Financial" Today everybody is laughing at Baidu, but he believes that Tencent and Alibaba advantage today is not an advantage, if there is penetration of new technology appears, crisis was at hand.
In many ways, Baidu has favorable conditions under the auspices of a Chinese company in the world of artificial intelligence, which combines the advantages of the data and expertise. According to foreign media reports, at present, Baidu depth speech recognition system enrolled at MIT named the "2016 Top Ten breakthrough technology," the speech recognition accuracy rate has reached 97 percent, more than Google.
Baidu is the world's artificial intelligence technology into one of the largest companies. The last three years, Baidu total revenue ratio of R & D costs were 12.9%, 14.2% and 15.3%, while Google was 12.9%, 14.9% and 16.3%, showed an upward trend. They are trying to open up the search business outside the territory, even though the search revenue still accounted for 90% and 96%, Google and Baidu total revenue.
Unmanned vehicles will probably be the next Baidu a truly innovative product - although the process will be extremely difficult. But its greater significance is that it is the first Baidu search, even independent of commercial products and information.
Baidu investment in Silicon Valley two years ago, $ 300 million to build artificial intelligence center, which currently has more than 200 employees, a large part of them as Baidu autopilot Division services. Wang Jin, general manager of unmanned Division in March to accept the "financial" reporter, said, unmanned vehicles will be Baidu far the largest capital investment projects.
"Finance" was informed that the recent Baidu five-year loan size increased from 1 to 2 billion US dollars, from 21 banks to get lending commitments. Li said the money will be used on unmanned vehicles, of Peru, the enterprise cloud and other new product lines to support.
In contrast to the other two BAT - Alibaba March has signed $ 3 billion five-year loan agreement, Tencent positive $ 2 billion to expand bank lending program to $ 4 billion. Objective two loans are "at home and abroad for the acquisition of shares in companies" and "including acquisitions for the expansion project."
"Although the adjustment PPC will create revenue decline, but this is a price we have to accept." Li said.
Baidu has been outside in order to search and create new, large-scale source of income. Li said that this process is very painful, but he predicted the size of the next Baidu a profitable business will probably come from financial services.
He said that compared to financial loans out rates and the cost of capital at present, the middle profitability. In addition, the hotel set in Baidu map, you can bring into revenue; Iqiyi can bring video advertising revenue, but these are only just beginning.
"Artificial intelligence is the most important strategy for Baidu." Li said.
"If we seize this opportunity, Baidu can become a completely different company, a. Than it is now much more influential companies" He looks very confident, but he acknowledged that this takes five to ten years.
July 2015, Baidu will take away split out independent business development; October, Baidu will be sold to go where Ctrip. This year, iQIYI also stripped out as the privatization of Baidu. Get rid of these three cost centers, the Baidu will be more relaxed.
He said Baidu do not do hardware, only software, and you want to the topmost, the core technology to achieve leading, then technology, exported to other software companies - this is reminiscent of Baidu in 2000 when, as a pure technology software companies exist, output technology for other companies rather than the flow of the company.
"Baidu any good and bad, and blame should be attributed to me." Li said. May 10, Li issued an open letter that he would lead us back Baidu culture.
From today to the future, Li to cross, not only the income gap with the product, the user and the profits and the bottom line between speed, but also the balance of management and culture, founder and team. The former because AI accumulation and favorable position in which Baidu, Baidu have the opportunity to comeback; but in the management and culture, Li needs to give a more convincing answer.
In 2016, Baidu latest in a structure adjustment, the parallel existence of the original search services, mobile services, financial services, new business four business groups of search and mobile search services merged company. This is similar to Google's to adjust their thinking and cutting-edge project is about traditional business separate, traditional business is a revenue center, is responsible for innovation and cutting-edge projects.
Although the adjustment brought a lot of suspicion, but at least for Li, the former two will overlap many business, business group combined perpetual conflict, no longer divided into spheres of influence, you can put his energy better at innovation business, labor smart on - Li Baidu is trying to recover the balance.
Chinese Internet giant BAT have dogged the three different levels of the crisis of a different nature - Alibaba 2011, Alipay incident, Tencent 2010 year of experience "3Q war", and this is west Baidu Wei event. These crises have profoundly changed the fate of the three companies.
Ma Alipay event so damaged reputation, which is also present on the tumultuous Chinese concept stocks were implicated in the international capital market, has not yet fully recovered, but the ants gold dress so they are independent, and will soon become a market capitalization of $ 60 billion A-share listed companies ; Tencent open massive banner after 3Q, after which the birth of micro-channel.
"No company is overthrown public opinion and public relations crisis, the systemic risk only appeared in strategy, product, corporate culture and a series of links in time, the company will be in question again and again be defeated." Tencent, said a group of executives on the "Financial" reporter.
In the Baidu network, a total of more than 300 employees in an open letter Li's comments. "I hope the future of hindsight today, is an important turning point in our history, because face his own question, have courage to correct perfect." More than Baidu employees a message that they hope can Baidu together from across the "big business to great business long distance. "
This article will be posted on June 27, 2016's issue of "Finance" magazine
Li and interviews for nearly two hours, we select the most part of which will be published tomorrow at this time "dialogue Li: Baidu's crisis and the future" QA Record.