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Robin Li: Baidu’s revenue reduced by USD 300 million since the medical ad scandal

Chinese tech giant Baidu recently announced that they would concentrate on artificial intelligence (AI), a bold move to boost new growth after the company bore great losses from the earlier medical ad scandal.

“For Baidu, a major source of revenue comes from advertising,” said Li. “Each day Baidu receives hundreds of millions of advertising applications, and we’re working to filter out fake and misleading content.” Li told China Central Television (CCTV) on Thursday that, since the Baidu scandal, in the past few months, the company’s quarterly revenue was reduced by RMB two billion (USD 300 million).

Examining the 2016 Q2 financial reports from the Chinese BAT tech giants (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) we see that Baidu achieved a revenue of just RMB 18.3 billion, compared with Alibaba’s RMB 32.2 billion and Tencent’s RMB 35.7 billion.

Li said that Baidu was a step late in catching the first mobile internet wave, and that in 2013 and 2014, he worried almost every day that Baidu’s lack of preparedness for mobile internet would lead the company into a dead end.

Nevertheless, Baidu must walk out of the shadow of the recent scandal, and concentrate on the field into which it has devoted so much effort, since five years ago: artificial intelligence. Li believes that, after the era of mobile internet – which may pass in a few years – the coming era of AI will arrive.

However, a report from the International Labor Organization shows global job losses of 197.1 million in 2015, and predicts the number will increase by 2.3 million and 1.1 million in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

While many would attribute the job losses to the rise of robotics and AI, Li on Saturday told CCTV at the 2016 B20 Summit that “accompanying every technological revolution is the knockout of outdated productive forces. AI in the short term may lead to the job loss of many, but in the long term it can create more job opportunities.”

To encourage innovation, Li put forward the SMART proposal at the B20 Summit, to call for building an ecosystem for sustainable innovation, a massive platform that serves innovators and makes open resources accessible for innovators and entrepreneurs.

(Top photo from Baidu Images)

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