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Former Microsoft exec tapped to lead Chinese search giant Baidu

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NewsHubAs China starts its New Year’s celebration, Baidu Chairman Robin Li announced that Qi Lu will become the company’s chief operating officer, “in charge of products, technology, sales, marketing, and operations.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Baidu, it’s huge, with a market capitalization of $61 billion (compared to Alphabet/Google at $556 billion). The company has had financial difficulties this past year as a result of complying with shifting Chinese government regulations, but Alexa pegs Baidu.com as the world’s fourth most-commonly visited website, behind Google, YouTube, and Facebook.
Lu joins former Google “Brain Trust” alumnus and Stanford adjunct professor Andrew Ng at an increasingly international Baidu. Straddling both East and West, Baidu walks an increasingly complex middle path.
Like Alphabet/Google, Baidu is furiously building artificial intelligence into all of its products. The financial press in general, and Bloomberg in particular , bills Lu as an “AI specialist,” but that’s a narrow niche. A little over eight years ago, Lu was working for Yahoo. As I wrote last September :
He moved from Yahoo to Microsoft in December 2008, and then-CEO Steve Ballmer put him in charge of three hard-charging engineers: Brian McAndrews (advertising and publisher solutions), Yusuf Mehdi (product manager for MSN and marketing), and one Satya Nadella (search, the Microsoft portal, and the advertising platform).

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