As China´s largest search engine, it was obvious that Baidu has access to an enormous amount of big data. Communication director Kaiser Kuo explains how Baidu has been building on that main asset for Knowledge CKGSB.
Big data began in China much as it did in the West: as an effort to use the information that websites were gathering about customers to sell more products. Advertising an e-commerce are still the largest uses for big data. One of the earliest examples was Baidu´s use of big data in its search engine. “Search engines have been doing what is now called big data since the very beginning,” says Baidu spokesperson Kaiser Kuo. “In order to have a good search engine, what you´re doing is massive data management.”
In addition to providing search results, Baidu made money by selling ads alongside them. Baidu would monitor what its users were searching for, and then charge companies for ads that were tailored to that activity. And, as the company´s big data capacities improved, it found it could tailor advertisements further. Says Kuo, “You can use that massive set of data and analyze it and figure out what advertisements are likely to be clicked on more. If we display more of those, the click through rate will go up and our revenues will reflect that.”
Since then, Baidu has expanded its big data efforts into other areas, including opening a Beijing Big Data lab under its Baidu Research arm.To demonstrate its big data capacities, Baidu has developed predictive programs for monitoring diseases like hepatitis, Lunar New Year travel, earthquakes, FIFA World Cup victories and movie box office successes. The company also has an open platform that allows developers to use Baidu´s algorithms to make predictions.
Zhang and Kuo argue that Baidu is the leader in big data in China because of its massive amount of data and its strength in technology. There are even some aspects in which Baidu´s big data efforts are more advanced than US companies, like building large sophisticated models and infrastructure…
Are you looking for more internet experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out our list here.