China´s internet giants are looking increasingly abroad, not only to find new markets, but also to find new technology and good engineers, says Kaiser Kuo, director international communication at China´s largest search engine Baidu. In Knowledge CKGSB.
Some of Baidu’s recent acquisitions suggest the company is also interested in “studying abroad”—for example, its purchase of a minority stake in the Finnish company IndoorAtlas in September. IndoorAtlas makes a cutting-edge mobile product that allows users to map and navigate indoor spaces. Its President Wibe Wagemans explains how it could enable people to “find a friend indoors. You could find a booth or a product at a conference. You could search for shoes in the mall and it would take you all the way to the actual shelf.”
The technology could have big potential for Baidu, which controls roughly 80% of the mobile search market in China and a little more than half of the market for mobile maps. “We’re looking to introduce that technology into our existing product line,” Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s Director of International Communications, says of IndoorAtlas…
In other cases, Chinese firms may also seek to tap the talent base and management experience of companies abroad, for example in Baidu’s high-profile investment in an R&D center and artificial intelligence lab in Silicon Valley in 2014. “We want to go where the talent is,” says Kuo. Not every great engineer happens to be located in China. Talent is distributed globally, and R&D should be too.”
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