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Tag Archives: Baidu
Baidu Company News Baidu 百度, Inc. incorporated on January 2000, is classifed as web services company established by Robin Li and Eric Xu.
Overview of the Chinese high Tech Market by former Chief Editor of Reuters (Doug Young).
Baidu offers many services, including a search engine for websites, audio files and images.
Baidu in Figures
– Ranked 4th overall in the Alexa rankings
– In 2015, Baidu had over 1 billion visits / month
– Baidu offers 57 community services (Chinese encyclopedia, questions/Answers , forums … )
Bottom line: Baidu’s anti-competitive behavior alleged in a lawsuit by Jinri Toutiao won’t have a long-term effect on its stock, but will draw the attention of an increasingly assertive anti-trust regulator.
A humorous war of words has broken out between search leader Baidu(Nasdaq: BIDU) and news aggregating app Jinri Toutiao, also sometimes called Today’s Headlines, over unfair competition in the form of search manipulation. I’ll detail the allegations shortly. But on a more serious note, this particular lawsuit does raise the question of whether a search engine like Baidu is obliged to be objective in its results. Moreover, it could also open the company to allegations of abusing its market-leading position with anti-competitive actions.
This kind of monopoly-like position has become a growing issue on China’s Internet, which has recently shed the notion of being too small for antitrust treatment. The original BAT of Baidu, Alibaba(NYSE: BABA) and Tencent(HKEx: 700) all now hold positions in search, e-commerce and games, respectively, that are quite lucrative and might be considered monopolies in many other markets. I personally would consider all three monopolies in China in terms of their ability to dominate their respective markets, and I suspect the regulator may someday attempt to challenge them the way that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) are now getting challenged in the rest of the world. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: A new music re-licensing deal between Alibaba and Tencent, combined with a meeting between the copyright regulator and major online music sellers, hint at attempts to create a more level playing field in the space.
A couple of items from the music sector are in the headlines today, showing how tricky the situation is becoming with copyrights and online licensing in China. One of those has two major players, the music services of Internet giants Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and Tencent(HKEx: 700), signing an agreement to cross-license music to each other when one of them owns the rights to such music. The other has China’s copyright office actually calling a meeting between those two companies and two other major players, NetEase(Nasdaq: NTES) and Baidu(Nasdaq: BIDU), to discuss issues confronting the industry.
Two issues appear to be driving these two deals that appear to be related. One is concerns from the music industry that rights to their songs will become fragmented and confined to single platforms under the current licensing system, limiting consumer choice. Similar concerns might also be what’s driving the regulator to get involved as well. An interesting footnote to this might be whether the same thing could soon happen in the video licensing arena, which shares similar issues. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Google’s campaign to build a China-based artificial intelligence team is at least partly designed to woo Beijing, as part of its broader effort to get permission to open a China-based Google Play app store.
In the latest signal of its move back to China, Internet titan Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is apparently on a hiring spree in Beijing that looks aimed at building up an artificial intelligence (AI) team in the world’s largest online market. This particular move doesn’t come as a huge surprise, and seems to be part of Google’s recent obsession with the world’s biggest Internet market.
The backstory is that Google quit China seven years ago, at least for its core search business that is the backbone of its operations in other markets, due to a dispute over Beijing’s tough policies requiring all sites to self-police themselves for sensitive content. But over the last two or three years Google has had a change of heart, realizing it really can’t afford to ignore an Internet market that has 750 million users. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: JD.com’s Thai joint venture looks like a smart move into Southeast Asia, though it shouldn’t move too aggressively abroad and instead focus on becoming profitable.
China’s big Internet companies have a pretty varied record for expanding abroad. At one extreme there’s Alibaba(NYSE: BABA), which is using its big cash pot to buy a wide range of assets concentrated mostly in East and South Asia. Tencent(HKEx: 700) is in the middle, mostly buying strategic stakes in game-related companies, while Baidu(Nasdaq: BIDU) appears to have mostly abandoned the market after a few half-hearted attempts at global M&A and trying to open search sites in other countries.
And then there’s Johnny-come-lately JD.com(Nasdaq: JD), which admittedly has a far shorter history and is also the only one of the four leading Internet companies that’s still losing money. But that doesn’t mean that JD doesn’t have cash, and now it appears the company is looking to make its biggest splash abroad to date with the formation of a joint venture in Thailand. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Baidu could announce a sale of its takeout dining unit to Ele.me by the end of the month, in a smart exit that will leave the industry with two major players and could result in a major write-off for Baidu.
In a move that’s been a long time coming, media are reporting that search giant Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) is on the cusp of a deal to unload its aging takeout delivery service to rival Ele.me, in a deal that would essentially whittle the ultra competitive space down to just two players. This particular development follows quite a typical pattern for Baidu, whose founder Robin Li has discovered he can quickly gain market share in new areas by throwing lots of money at them, sometimes through organic build-ups and sometimes through acquisitions.
Unfortunately, Li also has a strong track record of building up money-burning black holes that become problematic because they consume so much cash that they can’t be easily shut down. He has closed at least one such venture in the past, an e-commerce venture with Japan’s Rakuten. In another instance he sold off his Qunar online travel service to industry leader Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP). Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Unicom’s choice of 14 partners for a mixed-ownership reform plan involving its Shanghai-listed unit is far too many, and is ultimately likely to fail when those partners become frustrated and sell their shares.
What I feared might happen has come to pass in a mixed-ownership reform plan being crafted by China Unicom(HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU), one of the nation’s three telcos that is experimenting with selling some of itself to private investors. That’s a reference to reports in early August that the company might be planning to take on as many as 20 partners in the plan to sell a significant stake in its Shanghai-listed unit, China United Network Communications (Shanghai: 600050), to strategic private investors.
My worry was that taking on so many partners would effectively dilute the plan, since none of the partners would receive a very big stake and Unicom’s attention would be too fragmented. As it turns out, the number 20 was a bit too high, but not far off the mark. That’s the latest word, as Unicom has finally announced its mixed-ownership reform plan that will see it partner with 14 private companies in a bid to become more dynamic. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Unicom’s mixed-ownership reform plan could prove a dud if it chooses too many partners, which looks likely based on the latest reports.
I haven’t written for a while about a highly anticipated plan to inject some new life into perennial laggard telco China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE; CHU) through a Beijing-led pilot program, even as reports build that an announcement of the mixed-ownership plan are imminent. Those reports include the latest word that an announcement could finally come later this month.
But what caught my eye in this particular report was the number 20, a reference to how many private companies could potentially take part in this plan. That number looks a bit ridiculous to me, and would completely wipe out any potential benefits that Unicom might have received from the program. But perhaps that’s what this laggard carrier wants. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: A new scandal involving results that favor a major advertiser on Baidu’s mapping service could have a minor impact on the company’s stock during the next week, but is mostly an embarrassment.
A year after taking a beating over questions about the reliability of its search results, stumbling Internet titan Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) is back in the headlines over similar queries about results given by its popular mapping service. This time Baidu has quickly responded to the criticism from a group of doctors who are questioning the prominence of a powerful hospital group in search results on the mapping service, blaming the issue on a glitch and saying it is moving to correct the problem.
That’s far different from the last crisis, arguably the biggest in Baidu’s history, which began last spring when the story of a duped cancer patient made the rounds like wildfire on China’s Internet. In that instance, Baidu was slow to respond to the claims from a patient, who had already died at the time, that he was fooled by a cancer hospital whose name looked like a genuine search result but was really just an advertisement. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: The resignation of Xunlei’s founder as CEO, even as he retains his chairman’s title, could indicate a sale is coming soon, with the most likely buyer as Xiaomi.
The incredible shriveling online video company Xunlei (Nasdaq: XNET) is making a tiny splash in the headlines as we head toward the weekend, with word that its founder is relinquishing his position as CEO. The move seems potentially significant, since one of the main obstacles that keeps more companies from being acquired in China is resistance by their founders to relinquish their “empires” to someone else.
In this case, Xunlei’s empire is rapidly vanishing, as it gets overtaken by larger rivals like Baidu’s (Nasdaq: BIDU) iQiyi and video services operated by Tencent (HKEx: 700) and Sohu (Nasdaq: SOHU). That may mean that no one really wants Xunlei anymore, including ordinary stock investors. The company’s shares have been on a downward trajectory since its Nasdaq IPO three years ago, and now trade at $3.24 apiece, about a quarter of their IPO price of $12. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: JD.com is likely to pass Baidu this week and become China’s third most valuable internet company, while Weibo’s stock is likely to enter a period of correction while it awaits an official live broadcasting license.
The era of the Internet triumvirate of Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU), Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and Tencent (HKEx: 700), often called the BAT, is on the cusp of ending, as up-and-comer JD.com (Nasdaq: JD) looks set to pass Baidu in terms of market value. Meantime, I suspect the end of another era is coming for the soaring Weibo (Nasdaq: WB), which had some of the wind knocked out of its sails following some strict words from China’s heavy-handed regulator.
We’ll focus mostly on the Baidu/JD transition here, as that really does seem to mark a changing of the guard in China’s dynamic Internet sector. That move has seen Baidu experience a longer-term stagnation, as its core search business comes under assault from a few other newer players and it fails to find new revenue sources to offset the loss. On the other hand, JD.com seems unable to do any wrong these days, and is starting to resemble US titan Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) in the sense that people don’t really care whether it makes money. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Alibaba could take control of Ele.me after the latter’s latest fund-raising, and then make a bid for Baidu’s take-out dining service, leaving just two major players in the sector as it nears a more sustainable state.
The take-out dining wars have taken another interesting twist, with word that one of the oldest players, Ele.me, is on the cusp of raising a fresh $1 billion in new funds. What’s interesting about this latest fund raising is that it’s being led by Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), which is also trying to carve out a niche in the market through its own Koubei take-out delivery service. But even more intriguing is the possibility that this new funding could be aimed at giving Ele.me the firepower it needs to buy out Baidu’s (Nasdaq: BIDU) take-out delivery service, which is reportedly being shopped by the country’s leading search engine.
There are many threads to this story, but the bottom line is an end game is slowly coming into sight for China’s take-out delivery business, following the typical boom period we often see for this kind of emerging sector. The current field of take-out dining services is dominated by three names, Alibaba-backed Ele.me, Tencent-backed (HKEx: 700) Meituan-Dianping and Baidu take-out. Read Full Post…