Baidu sets its sights on taking AI and self-driving cars ou…

Online search provider Baidu — referred to as the Google of China — has been expanding aggressively into cutting edge technology such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.

The Chinese tech titan is one of the largest internet companies in the world with a strong user base, thanks in no small part to China’s massive population of 1.4 billion people.

About 70 percent of China’s internet searches go through Baidu. The Chinese-language search platform is one of the most visited websites in the world, with its traffic surpassed only by Google, YouTube and Facebook, according to Alexa Internet, which measures web data and analytics.

Most of Baidu’s revenue comes from online advertising. While its primary business is its search engine, it also offers maps, images, videos and news platforms to users. It’s also a majority stakeholder in iQiyi, widely referred to as the Netflix of China.

But like other Chinese internet firms, Baidu is subject to Beijing’s strict online censorship laws. The government has fined companies, including Baidu, for failing to properly censor content on its platforms.

Baidu is also investing heavily into its autonomous vehicle projects and has formed partnerships with the likes of Microsoft and Intel, and carmakers BMW, Ford and Daimler.

Leading the charge in China’s push for driverless technology, Baidu has already developed and produced more than 100 self-driving buses. The autonomous vehicles will soon be deployed to the streets of Beijing and Shenzhen, and are due to enter Japan’s self-driving market in early 2019.

The company has set its sights on markets outside China. It’s next move would be to take its AI and self-driving technology to foreign markets, bringing it one step closer to becoming a global tech titan.

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