Baidu CEO Robin Lee says his company whipped up on Google in China once, and it can do it again.
Lee, responding to reports that Google was considering a return to China, says his company has better technology for its home country, and will make short work of the Silicon Valley search giant. According to The Verge:
Baidu CEO Robin Li wrote on his verified WeChat account that if “Google decides to return to China, we are very confident we can just PK and win again.” By PK, he was referencing “player-kill,” Chinese slang that originated as a gaming reference for when you kill another player, usually in a multiplayer role-playing game.
Both companies offer search engine services, cloud services, and develop AI for use within their products. They also develop hardware products, but search is their biggest overlap.
Li writes that Chinese tech companies have grown even more powerful since Google left China in 2010 after it began to challenge censored search results. “Chinese tech companies have already taken the lead… The whole world is copying from China,” he wrote. After Google vacated, Baidu absorbed its market share for a total of over 70 percent of the Chinese market.
Li’s confidence may be misplaced, though. The Verge reports that a survey of internet users on Weibo shows 86 percent would choose Google over Baidu.
As Quartz reports, there are plenty of hurdles beyond Baidu to Google reentering the Chinese market. The company will have to get approval from Chinese officials to operate there.
And, we wrote last week, Google faces internal and external opposition to its plans over concerns with whether its search service would comply with Chinese censorship laws. In addition to rank-and-file employees raising concerns, U.S. politicians have expressed their concern, with Sen. Marco Rubio sending a letter to Google’s CEOSundar Pichai questioning the move.