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Baidu to remain focused on AI, despite departure of 'key figure'

Baidu said it would stay focused on its AI capability to help video producers and distributors in the mobile Internet era, despite the departure of chief operating officer Lu Qi.
Ding Yining / SHINE

China's largest search engine operator, Baidu, said it would stay focused on its capabilities in the artificial intelligence field despite the departure of its chief operating officer.

Baidu’s artificial intelligence prowess would be leveraged in the audio and video recognition sector, which could be applied in a number of industries such as online education, medical services and online gaming, Baidu senior vice president Xiang Hailong told the Baidu Union Ecosystem Summit today.

“Baidu’s artificial intelligence capability would make it easier to make and search for short video content," he said.

Baidu’s pledge came after the announcement of chief operating officer Lu Qi’s stepping down last week, which led to worries that his departure might lead to a setback for the search giant’s AI-focused repositioning.

Lu, a former Microsoft senior executive, joined Baidu in January last year, and has been viewed as a key figure in the search engine’s ambitious efforts in the artificial intelligence and autonomous driving fields. 

Lu will take on the position of vice-chairman at Baidu starting July, citing personal and family reasons. 

Shares of Baidu plunged more than 10 percent following the announcement of Lu’s stepping down. 

Chairman and chief executive officer Robin Li told an internal employee meeting yesterday that Baidu would stay focused on mobile Internet strategies and its advantages in the AI field. 

Baidu would continue to leverage its search algorithm to deepen its understanding of users’ search requests in the form of words as well as video and audio, Li said. 

Lu Qi also thanked Li for giving him the chance to spend the past year at Baidu, and added that China is the biggest innovative landscape in the artificial intelligence field. He said that Baidu is still fully capable of riding the new AI wave to become a truly great company in the future.  


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