Baidu is often referred to as "the Google of China", and recently it's got a taste of that Silicon Valley search giant's success. It's one of the best performing stocks on the NASDAQ at the moment: up more than 170% so far this year.
Flourishing finances aren't the only similarities between Baidu and Google. Both have minimalistic, white homepages with search boxes in the center.
So is Baidu simply a clone with a homecourt advantage, or an innovator in its own right?
Baidu's Director of International Communications Kaiser Kuo insists it is the latter. "I think Baidu has gotten a bad wrap for an awfully long time about simply being, at the most complementary, a fast follower...even from the really early days it was never a merely derivative company."
And Kaiser Kuo makes no secret of Baidu's plans to expand upon it's dominance in China to become a global brand. "Robin Li (Baidu's CEO and Chairman) has said before that in ten years he hopes that Baidu is a household name in half of the world's internet markets. I don't think that's an unrealistic goal at all. We are developing in in nine different languages besides Chinese and English. We're looking at some developing world markets, especially in Latin America, South East Asia, the Middle East. But none of this is really near-term. I think that we're very much still focused on the domestic Chinese market."
Sounds like wherever you are in the world, you may be seeing more of Baidu on a computer near you sometime soon.