- Robin Li Facts – #50 facts about the founder of Baidu
- Early Life of Robin Li
- Education of Robin Li
- Robin Li: Work as Research Assistant
- Baidu by Robin Li
- 12) Eric and Robin Create Baidu
- 13) Location of Baidu’s First Office
- 14) Google of China
- 15) Main Search Engine on the Chinese Internet
- 16) Baidu Eye
- 17) The Baidu Foundation
- 18) Makes Changes in Company
- 19) Mobile Web Browsers
- 20) Baidu and the Chinese Government
- 21) Has Faith in Baidu
- 22) Trains Employees
- 23) Baidu Follows Accounting Laws
- Problems with Baidu
- Work Philosophy of Robin Li
- Other Work about Robin Li
- Professional Success of Robin Li
- Personal Life of Robin Li
- Views and Opinions by Robin Li
Robin Li Facts – #50 facts about the founder of Baidu
Early Life of Robin Li
1) Born 1968
Robin Li, the co-founder of Chinese search engine Baidu is born on Sunday, November 17, 1968 in the city of Yangquan in Shanxi Province.
Robin Li’s parents belong to the labor class.
They earn their living by working at a local factory.
The couple has five children.
Out of these five children, Robin Li is the only boy.
The rest are girls.
Robin is the fourth among the five children in the family.
3) Poor Living Conditions
Robin Li is born to a poor family and in a poor locality as well.
Yangquan is an underdeveloped city and does not offer much to its residents.
Hence,the majority of people migrate to other parts of China in search of better opportunities and standard of living.
Even living in such circumstances, Robin never loses hope – mainly because of his mother who always motivates him to get the best in education.
Education of Robin Li
4) His School Shuts Down
During Robin’s second year in the high school, the school is shut down due to the pro-democracy crackdown in Tiananmen Square.
Robin Li completes his Bachelor’s degree in Information Management from Peking University, China.
However, he gets his Master’s degree from the University at Buffalo, The State University of NY.
One common thing that exists between Peking University and University at Buffalo is that both have notable Nobel Prize winners as their alumni.
Tsung-Dao Lee and Yang Chen Ning are Noble prizewinners from the Peking University while Ronald Coase, Herbert A. Hauptman and Sir John Carew Eccles are Noble prizewinners from the University at Buffalo.
6) Studies at University of Buffalo
Robin Li initially attends the University at Buffalo in America in order to pursue a doctoral degree in the field of Computer Science.
After entering the university in 1991, Robin Li changes his decision about the PhD and hence receives a Master of Science degree instead.
He graduates from there in 1994.
Robin Li: Work as Research Assistant
7) Sargur Srihari Talks about Li
One of Li’s previous professors, Sargur Srihari is a fan of Li and speaks fondly of him to this day.
When describing the time he spends with Li, Srihari expresses his liking for him.
He works as a research assistant with Srihari for two years, and from the 1992 to 1994, the University financially supports him.
8) Outstanding Research Assistant
During Li’s time as a research assistant, Li is an outstanding worker.
He publishes some papers during his short time as a researcher.
Srihari says this is in part due to the fact that Li is funded by the University and has little else to worry about.
Li receives US$ 8, 500 in the first year and US$ 9, 500 the second year and does not have to pay for the tuition for his Master’s program as research assistants were waived.
9) Is Very Innovative
Li takes every opportunity he has to create something during his two years as a research assistant.
He writes research papers and attends conferences presenting his research and his work.
Li is quite innovative, and thinks outside the box.
At the time, Google does not exist, yet Li is already ahead of the game and writes a paper about search engines.
10) Work is Cited By Other Researchers
There are numerous students from the Tsinghua University whose work is cited by other research writers.
Robin, under his official name of Yanhong is 4th on the list of the most cited students of the University.
His work on information retrieval, which he accomplishes independently, receives more than 250 citations.
11) Works for IDD
In 1994, Li works for an information services company, IDD.
During his tenure with the company from 1994 to 1997, Li helps develop a software program for The Wall Street Journal’s online version.
He also works on algorithms for search engines.
This is the beginning of Li’s imminent success.
Baidu by Robin Li
12) Eric and Robin Create Baidu
Baidu is actually founded by Robin Li and his friend Eric Xu.
When the company starts, Li is the chairman and Eric is the CEO.
However, in 2004, Eric feels the recent restructuring leaves him with fewer responsibilities and hence he resigns as the CEO.
The CEO chair is then taken over by Robin.
13) Location of Baidu’s First Office
Do you know the location first office of Baidu? The office is set up in a hotel room, which is near the Peking University from where Robin graduated.
14) Google of China
Li’s Baidu is referred to as the “Google of China”.
This nickname has a greater impact than it intends.
It is reported that Baidu decides to create its own version of Google Glass.
This is no surprise as Li states that he has big plans for the future of Baidu.
15) Main Search Engine on the Chinese Internet
Robin Li and Eric Xu found Baidu at the turn of the new century in 2000.
Baidu is the main search engine of the Chinese Internet.
However, in 2012, with increasing competition from another Chinese search engine, Qihoo 360, Baidu’s market share decreases from 71.5% to 70.5%.
16) Baidu Eye
Due to this increasing competition, Li pushes the company to create something new and innovative to get it back on track.
The reported version of Google Glass is to be called the Baidu Eye, and will help diversify Baidu’s outlook and usage.
17) The Baidu Foundation
Robin Li’s charitable foundation, “the Baidu Foundation”, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works jointly on a program that motivates the smokers to quit smoking.
18) Makes Changes in Company
Robin decides to make some changes in the company to ensure that employees work as efficiently as possible.
He decides to reduce meeting hours and creates stricter rules regarding deadlines.
He wants his staff to be committed, dedicated, and focused in order to be ready for “Baidu’s second takeoff.”
19) Mobile Web Browsers
Growth at Baidu leans towards the mobile device platform.
They plan to produce mobile web browsers to help users search on the go.
More and more people are using internet apps on their mobile devices, and search engines must adapt to these changes and make their interface and surfaces match the needs of users.
20) Baidu and the Chinese Government
Baidu has connections to the Chinese government as its CEO, Li, and sits on the political advisory board.
The company manages to oust Google due to its government connections.
Chinese individuals interested in investing with successful businesses are eager to invest with Baidu lately.
21) Has Faith in Baidu
Li is aware of the issues that Baidu has to overcome, but Li publicly announces that Baidu has much potential yet.
He has faith in his company and knows that it is still going to create ‘bigger things’.
22) Trains Employees
Li spends most of his time training his employees or potential candidates for Baidu’s growing work force.
He says that a company must have a specific routine or method that is used to train and educate employees.
23) Baidu Follows Accounting Laws
Baidu, unlike many other Chinese companies known for their fraudulent ways, abides by international accounting laws.
This is quite an achievement for a company surrounded by fraud and deceit.
Problems with Baidu
Robin Li’s Baidu also receives critical media attention because of the listing scandal back in 2008, which sees Baidu promoting unlicensed pharmaceutical companies.
Baidu is accused of assisting censorship in China.
In addition, certain music companies make copyrights violation complaints against Baidu.
25) Baidu and Piracy
Many Chinese companies are accused of violating privacy concerns of many companies, artists and organizations.
The government does not properly protect the rights of these companies.
Baidu is reported to have made it easier for users to access pirated content such as mp3 direct download.
This is what attracts many users to Baidu, making it one of the most popular search engines.
26) Issues Baidu Faces
Li and Baidu are scrutinized for some time and receive their fair share of public relation issues due to their previous disregard for piracy.
Much like the rest of China, Baidu has not cared for years about piracy concerns, and is not concerned with the damage it is doing to the intellectual property of hard working individuals.
Work Philosophy of Robin Li
27) Link Analysis
“Link Analysis” is the term Robin uses to name the search method he creates while working on Wall Street.
28) Encourages His Employees to Be Success Hungry
In response to the competition from Qihoo 360, Li writes a letter to all of his employees pushing them to be forceful and ‘wolf-like’ in their efforts.
He encourages his employees to be success hungry, which he hopes will motivate them to think of creative ideas.
Li also wants his workers to be aware of the competitor and what it will mean for their company if they start to lag behind.
29) Innovation is More Important Than Profit
For Li innovation is more important than profit.
For the CEO of Baidu, which recently faces some competition, it is imperative to bring something new to the table for the company’s future success.
He states that he plans to invest in products that have been part of the trend market, such as mobile web apps.
30) Talks about Machines and Employees
Li states that the machines, the computers and the technological instruments they use in their company eventually depreciate and need to be replaced over time.
However, with employees, they can only improve over time, and their value will increase as their experience and time with the company increases.
31) On Hiring Fresh Graduates
Baidu hires fresh graduates.
The reason for this, Li explains, is that it is easy to teach budding engineers and entrepreneurs who have just graduated as compared to teaching the experienced staff.
He says that eventually after two years or so, the new graduates evolve into experienced engineers and employees who benefit the company.
32) Advocates Independent Thinking
Li is a strong advocate of independent thinking and individual judgment.
He says innovation and success cannot stem “from following the herd.”
Li says that a talent for being able to grasp opportunities quickly, especially in a competitive environment is the main ingredient to achieve success.
33) Change Starts with You and Me
The email titled “Change Starts with You and Me” clearly unifies the company and himself in efforts to boost morale and motivate workers.
In the email, Li explains to his employees that in order to advance to new levels of achievement, they must go through difficult times and “suffer”, otherwise they can risk turning into “dinosaurs.”
Other Work about Robin Li
34) Silicon Valley Business War
Robin Li is also the author of the book “Silicon Valley Business War”.
Robin pens down this book in the year 1998.
The content of the book revolves on his personal experience of working in Silicon Valley.
The book also takes a deep look at the USA technological industry with reference to commercialization and development of internet search during the 1990s.
Li is interested in Chinese politics, and is named as part of the country’s political advisory board.
The new board has many plans for the future of China, and includes some of China’s most influential and successful individuals.
Delegates of the advisory body include Li Shufu, the founder of the first private carmaker in China, and Mo Yan, China’s first Nobel laureate of literature.
36) SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in Beijing
In 2012, Li is a keynote speaker at the 18th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in Beijing.
His speech titled, “Nine Real Hard Problems We’d like you to Solve” aims to teach audiences about challenges in research and interesting things about the research industry.
Professional Success of Robin Li
37) Top CEO in China
Li is named the top CEO in China, according to the Chinese version of Forbes.
Other main Chinese business people who are listed include Ma Huateng and Huang Guanlin.
38) Inspires the Youth of China
Li is an inspiration for the youth of China.
The people of China see him as an innovator and entrepreneur who work for the progress of their country.
Although Li is a rich man and is at the top of the list of the richest people in China, he does not forget his roots and is still attached to his homeland of China.
Robin Li sure receives some notable honors and awards over the years.
This includes being “IT Ten Famous Persons” during two consecutive years in the year 2002 and 2003.
He is honored during the prestigious ASEAN Youth Awards 2005.
Currently, he ranks 64thon the list of Forbes most powerful people in the world.
40) His Success Story
Some success stories really take you by surprise.
When Robin Li’s Baidu first appears on NASDAQ during August 2006, the share prices of Baidu boom from a mere $27 to $151 in just one day of working.
Something like this never happened before in the USA’s stock market.
This dot.com boom is unrealistic for many but Baidu makes it possible.
In 2007, Baidu becomes the first Chinese company to achieve NASDAQ-100 index.
41) 15 Asian Scientists to Watch
The Asian Scientist Magazine is one of the largest scientific magazines in the region of Asia.
Asian Scientist Magazine’s 15 May2011 edition is special for Robin Li.
After all, the edition of the magazine publishes a list of 15 Asian Scientists to watch and Robin Li is in this list.
42) His Wealth Decreases
Li drops in ranking as one of the top Chinese Billionaires according to Forbes and as of March 2013, is at number 4.
Li’s wealth fell from US$ 10.2 billion to US$ 6.9 billion last year.
This has come as a disappointment to Li and his family, but the inspirational individual has many ideas to reclaim his position.
43) Reason Behind the Decrease in His Wealth
Li’s drop from the second richest Chinese billionaire in 2012 is in part due to the drop in the price of US shares of his company, Baidu.
In a short span of time, almost US$ 785 million disappears from the billionaire’s pockets and leaves him with a fourth position on the 2013 Forbes list of richest Chinese billionaires.
44) Current Ranking
Baidu currently ranks among the world’s 10 most popular sites.
Robin is the 4TH richest man in China as per 2013 Forbes China Rich List with a net worth of US$ 6.9 billion.
Personal Life of Robin Li
45) Meaning of His Name
It is a little known fact that the name of the famous Chinese search engine Baidu actually means “100 times” and the name is correctly pronounced as “By-Doo”.
The name itself is derived from a famous Song dynasty poem.
46) Credits His Wife for his Success
The CEO of Baidu credits his wife Melissa for making him a successful Chinese internet entrepreneur.
In 1999, the couple goes for a screening at Stanford University, which features Jerry Yang’s interview (YAHOO founder).
After the screening, Melissa asks her husband that she will like to see him as a founder of an Internet company.
Hence, Robin Li defines his success in these words:“inspired by Yang and pushed by Melissa.”
Thus, it is true that behind every successful man is a woman.
47) Marries Dongmin Ma
Robin Li meets his wife Dongmin Ma (better known as Melissa) in 1995 in New York at a get together for Chinese students studying in the USA.
They instantly develop a liking for each other.
They marry on 10th of October 1995 after dating for 6 months.
They marry in New Jersey and now have four children, three daughters and one son.
48) His Mentor
Robin Li considers Jonathan J. Hull, his mentor and a research associate professor at Buffalo, to be one of his earliest inspirations.
According to Robin, the time he spends working under Jonathan greatly influences his life and his future.
The two also co-write an academic paper titled: “Word Recognition Result Interpretation Using the Vector Space Model for Information Retrieval.”
Jonathan today is the manager of the Intelligent Network Research Systems research group at Ricoh Innovations located in California.
Views and Opinions by Robin Li
49) Excited about the Possibilities of eCommerce
He is very excited about the possibilities of Ecommerce and the web industry.
Li urges the younger generation to step up and take advantage of the rapid advancements of technology.
They have the opportunity to be part of something dynamic and everlasting, and can create change through which millions of people can benefit with a simple click.
Li boasts that with the Baidu Company, his workers can build products and services that will benefit the world.
50) On Making Decisions Quickly
Li believes making decisions quickly and precisely is a much-needed characteristic in true leaders.
They must be able to make judgments, deciding whether to do something and it should be done as quickly as possible, without wasting time and resources.