Baidu CEO Robin Li called Google’s decision to leave China a gift and stated his company had to deal with the same restrictions. Speaking at the Web 2.0 conference, Li said “he has more competitors than Google does in the US, including some with direct government sponsorship, and that Western companies aren’t seen as public enemies if they decamp,” the Financial Times reported.
“When Google had launched its search engine in China, he advised CEO Eric Schmidt to spend at least six months a year in China to better understand the market.
Speaking at a Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, Li struck a playful note, saying, “Eric did not take my advice. I knew that, eventually, he would hand me a gift, and it happened.”
“Baidu reported in October that it had more than doubled its net profits in the third quarter, benefiting from Google’s sliding market share,” the Global Times reported.
Baidu turned down buyout offers of more than $1bn from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and now has a stock market value of $40bn, the Financial Times noted.