Artificial intelligence

China’s Baidu hires Microsoft artificial intelligence expert as its new COO

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 12:16pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 3:23pm

Chinese online search giant Baidu has named former Microsoft global executive vice president Qi Lu as its group president and chief operating officer.

Lu, a leading authority in the area of artificial intelligence, will be in charge of products, technology, sales, marketing and operations, effective immediately, according to a Baidu statement issued on Tuesday.

“To achieve our goals, especially in artificial intelligence, which is a key strategic focus for the next decade, we will need to continue attracting the best global talent. With Dr. Lu on board, we are confident that our strategy will be executed smoothly and Baidu will become a world-class technology company and global leader in AI,” said Robin Li Yanhong, Baidu’s chairman and group CEO.

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Prior to joining Baidu, Lu served as Microsoft’s global executive vice president and led one of Microsoft’s three business units. He holds over 40 US patents and has authored many papers in his field.

Baidu has been ramping up its effort on AI as the company sees the technology as the infrastructure for a ride range of industries from cars to marketing. For example, the Nasdaq-listed Baidu is betting big on AI-enabled autonomous driving.

Lu is not the only former Microsoft executive to join Baidu’s management team. Ya-Qin Zhang, who currently serves as Baidu president in charge of technology, emerging business, and global business operations, joined the company in 2014 after serving as Microsoft’s corporate vice president and chairman of the Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D group for a decade.