Baidu Taps Microsoft’s Qi Lu as COO to Accelerate AI Innovations

Baidu Taps Microsoft's Qi Lu as COO to Accelerate AI Innovations

Chinese search engine Baidu has acquired a new pilot to fly its business objectives. Qi Lu, the Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Applications and Services Group, will now be the Chief Operating Officer at Baidu. The latest hiring spells Baidu’s positive intent to push its Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations.

As traditional revenue from search engine continues to wane, top technology innovators are competing in what Martech Series calls as the AI-race. Technology leaders are acquiring AI startups and hiring prolific researchers to drive their mission. Qi Lu’s experience at Microsoft will enable Baidu to realign its business objectives towards AI-driven strategies. In recent times, Baidu’s recent tryst with in-search medical advertising has hogged the limelight negatively. In a bid to clean up its paid-search advertising platform, Baidu brought Qi Lu to reaffirm its reputation as an ethical advertising platform in China and abroad.

“Dr. Lu possesses a wealth of leadership and management experience, and is a leading authority in the area of artificial intelligence,” Baidu Chief Executive Robin Li in a statement.

With the latest shift in power, Baidu will take a leap forward in AI race that has seen a staggering rise in marketing budgets since 2015. According to a recent report, AI revenue will grow from $643.7 million in 2016 to $36.8 billion by 2025. Baidu will play a key role in developing cutting-edge AI-based innovations, garnering higher revenues from the technology.

via Tractica
via Tractica

Before joining Baidu, Qi Lu was leading Microsoft’s productivity, communications, and B2B search and information services. Previously, Lu was the EVP of Yahoo and a Research Staff Member at IBM. At Baidu, Lu will be working on its AI platform built along deep learning.  Baidu has invested heavily on AI to gain mileage from the technology. The company released $200 million in October 2016 to acquire top talent in AI, augmented reality (AR) and deep learning. Additionally, it also announced $3 billion funding to acquire startups working on AI technology.

Currently, Baidu Research is working on AI- centric technologies, including image and speech recognition, natural language, robotics and Big Data. According to a reliable source in the industry, Baidu is its first AR lab.

In August 2016, Baidu released its AR platform DuSee for Chinese mobile users.

Baidu Research already has three subsidiary departments working on AI –

  • Big Data Lab
  • Institute of Deep Learning
  • Silicon Valley AI

This is not the first time that Baidu has managed to acquire a Microsoft talent. In 2014, the internet search engine giant appointed Zhang Ya-Qin as the President in-charge of Technology. Under the new arrangement, Zhang will report directly to his former Microsoft peer, Lu.

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