Baidu’s Robin Li: focus on artificial intelligence, not trade war
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Baidu’s Robin Li: focus on artificial intelligence, not trade war

At this week’s “two sessions” – an annual gathering of Chinese legislative and political advisory bodies – Baidu’s CEO and co-founder Robin Li was eager to talk down the impact of the trade war, and focus on longer-term growth factors. Namely, the “Made in China 2025” policy and, in particular, artificial intelligence (AI). This, in a nutshell, was his message: Baidu hasn’t felt any effect from trade disputes between China and the US, and he thinks international collaboration on new technology is good for all involved.

Baidu’s share price has increased by 2% over the past five days

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Source: Yahoo Finance

The reason trade hadn’t affected Baidu was simply “because we have no major business in the US, we mostly do research and development there and we have a lot of communication with our peers in the US.” Pushed further on trade, Mr. Li was keen to change the subject to trading information between countries in the race to create new technologies. He said: “I am more familiar with AI, and area where both China and the US enjoy leading positions. There is some competition in the field, and also plenty of opportunities for collaboration. In the future, we do hope the two countries will not engage in a protracted trade war and instead engage in more collaboration and healthy competition.”

Mr. Li’s suggestion comes at a time when the on-going dispute over tariffs has begun to imperil two key (and interlinked) strategies from Beijing. The first is “Made in China 2025” – an initiative to turn China into a core components and materials powerhouse over the next six years, and President Xi’s desire to see China become the global leader in AI by 2030.

Dominion holds Baidu in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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