Baidu’s Robin Li: Google can come back, but it will have a fight on its hands!
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Baidu’s Robin Li: Google can come back, but it will have a fight on its hands!

Chinese internet giant Baidu has a fight on its hands: Google, the undisputed global king of the search engines, wants to come back to China. This week, China said fine – provided Google plays by the rules. We covered Google’s announcement at the end of last week, and now it’s Baidu’s turn – because founder and CEO Robin Li has plenty to say on the matter.

Baidu’s share price dropped last week when Google announced an imminent return to China

graph 1008 baidu

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Mr. Li took to social media to present a strong face in light of Google’s announcement that it’s developing a censorship-friendly search engine (Dragonfly) for the Chinese market. He said:

“We can now, with real knives and real guns, PK [note: “PK” is a popular term that has come to mean “compete against”] them again, win again. In 2010, when Google withdrew from China, its market share was declining and Baidu’s market share had exceeded 70 percent.”

According to Li “the world is copying from China” and the country has gone through “earth-shaking changes” since Google left. He added: “this is something every company wanting to enter the China market must carefully consider and face.”

It remains to be seen how smoothly Google’s reentry into China will go – and, at this early stage, whether it even “goes” at all. The company is facing criticism from its own employees as well as human rights activists over its decision to embrace censorship. And it’s reportedly in early-stage talks with Chinese companies like Tencent to see if it can forge any friendships in the market before it lands.

Whatever the outcome of this story, one thing is abundantly clear: if Google makes it to China, it will have one heck of a fight on its hands.

Disclosure

Dominion holds both Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and Baidu in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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