By looking at Baidu – top Chinese website and search engine – and Google – US top website and search engine – the similarities are staggering both regarding how they work and how their is organized.
Baidu in a nutshell
As of 2017, Baidu made most of its revenues from advertising via its ads networks. The remaining part was mainly comprised of memberships from Baidu entertaining platform. Baid also has a few other segments of the business. In fact, besides online marketing services, Baidu offers cloud services, it has a segment dedicated to autonomous driving and a segment devoted to the market leading online entertainment service provider in China.
Google in a nutshell
Like Baidu, Google makes money primarily via its advertising networks (AdWords and AdSense) The remaining revenues come from Google Play, Google Cloud and Hardware. A small part is related to the Google bets, a set of risky ventures where Google is investing and where Google believes the future might lay ahead.
Both make money from advertising
Google is many times over Baidu in terms of revenues. The search engine from Mountain View made over $95 billion in revenues in 2017, compared to Baidu over $11 billion in revenues from advertising.
Both used a link-based algorithm to rank web pages
Back in 1996, Robin Li built RankDex was the first search engine that used hyperlinks to measure the quality of websites it was indexing. In 1998 RankDex was acquired by a Dow Jones subsidiary Tradeline.com. Even before Google’s Larry Page had built the algorithm that would make Google the most popular search engine on earth, PageRank.
Many argue that Baidu is a clone of Google. Yet Robin Li has been innovating in the space of search before then Google’s founders.
Both are betting on video content and self-driving cars
In 2017 Baidu invested an additional $1.5 billion in iQIYI. Also, Baidu is investing in self-driving cars. Just like Google acquired YouTube and it believes self-driving cars represent the future.
Is Baidu a clone of Google?
At first sight, both in terms of business model and the way Baidu works it seems to be a clone of Google. However, by looking at the Baidu origin story and how it managed to conquer the Chinese market, Baidu had managed to become among the most recognized brands in China. Thus, Baidu is an innovative company for its own sake and not just a clone of Google.
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