Baidu was established in 2000 by Robin Li and Eric Xu. Both of the co-founders are Chinese nationals who studied and worked overseas before returning to China. In December 2016, Baidu ranked 4th overall in the Alexa Internet rankings. It is one of the largest Internet company in the world.
Baidu offers many services, including a Chinese search engine for websites, audio files and images. Baidu offers 57 search and community services including Baidu Baike (an online, collaboratively built encyclopedia) and a searchable, keyword-based discussion forum.
During Q4 of 2010, it is estimated that there were 4.02 billion search queries in China of which Baidu had a market share of 56.6%. China’s Internet-search revenue share in second quarter 2011 by Baidu is 76%. In December 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index.
As of 2006, Baidu provided an index of over 740 million web pages, 80 million images, and 10 million multimedia files. Baidu offers multimedia content including MP3 music, and movies, and is the first in China to offer Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and personal digital assistant (PDA)-based mobile search.
Baidu Baike is similar to Wikipedia as an online encyclopedia; however, unlike Wikipedia, only registered users can edit the articles due to Chinese laws. While access to Wikipedia has been intermittently blocked or certain articles filtered in China since June 2004, there is some controversy about the degree to which Baidu cooperates with Chinese government censorship.
The company also hosts a music service, called Baidu Music, that has more than 150 million monthly active users. On December 4, 2015, Baidu announced plans to merge with Taihe Entertainment Group to help the service compete with Apple Inc.’s Apple Music, which Apple plans to make available in China.