Assuming they haven’t already done so, it wouldn’t be surprising if Baidu’s execs decide to send some thank you notes and fruit baskets to their counterparts at Google. Baidu released its first-quarter earnings report late yesterday, and – due in large part to Google’s recent moves – the last few months went well, and the future looks even brighter.
It’s almost a waste of space to state that Google is a good employer; the fact is widely known, and people all over the world apply there on a regular basis. However, in a move that may speak to how the search giant is faring in China, an important research executive has gone to work for Baidu after quitting Google within the past couple weeks.
To be a Baidu shareholder must be a wonderful thing. The Chinese company’s stock went up yet again today and was at $608.50 when the closing bell rang, making this the first time it’s ever ended a trading day above $600.
Here are a couple other numbers sure to make other investors jealous: shares of Baidu actually gained 2.29 percent today, which represents a significant increase, not a symbolic tic. Also, since January 12th (the day Google announced its "new approach to China"), shares are up a whopping 51.91 percent.
The creation of the Chinese equivalent of Hulu is now officially underway. Providence Equity Partners, which invested $100 million in the original American video site, will give Baidu $50 million to create Qiyi.com. Qiyi should similarly offer premium content and rely on ad revenue.
The odds of Google leaving China appear to have been raised today. Two financial experts made positive comments about Baidu, and while neither issued any carved-in-stone predictions about its competitor departing, investors are now buying more shares of the Chinese company’s stock.
Motorola is allowing Internet users in China to use Baidu or other search engines on its handsets with Google’s Android operating system.
Baidu is Google’s chief rival in the search market in China. "Users will be able to select their search experience from a number of providers including Baidu and others, with whom Motorola has signed strategic agreements," the company said.
It appears that not all is well (or at least normal) at Baidu. Last week, the company’s COO abruptly resigned, and today, its CTO followed suit. Both men cited "personal reasons" for their departures, and Baidu’s made little other information available.
Reactions to Google’s announcement about a possible withdrawal from China have been mixed so far; there have been objections from individuals who think its absence will deprive the Chinese people of information, while others approve of what they consider a moral stand. But Baidu’s investors probably aren’t too conflicted, as the company’s stock imitated a bottle rocket today.
Several changes in Baidu’s executive lineup occurred today, and fans can take heart in the fact that two of them came about as the result of promotions. The third is a little more troubling, insofar as Baidu’s chief operating officer resigned "for personal reasons."