Baidu speeds up online commerce

Updated: 2014-09-18 09:49

By QIDONG ZHANG in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

After its release of a new offline-to-online toolkit named Zhida (Baidu Connect) on Sept 3 at its annual Baidu World event, Baidu's US Research and Development Center followed up by hosting 2014 Summer Tech Day on Tuesday in Sunnyvale, California.

Like Google's annual I/O, the annual event of China's largest search engine is considered a barometer for its new product direction. It aims to help traditional businesses transit onto a mobile platform by providing package service via mobile.

Via Baidu Connect, users can skip all search pages to reach business services directly via mobile search, map and @ business to access search request directly.

About 10,000 Zhida beta tests were signed up upon the product release. Haidilao Hot Pot, for instance, a restaurant chain known for hot-pot spicy meals, is reported to have had 700,000 hits since its beta launch, mostly merchants eager to build apps to capture users looking for local services.

According to Baidu, there was a 133 percent increase in mobile searches from July 2013 to July 2014, a strong indication of changing consumer behavior. Baidu hopes its Connect will embrace the mobile internet era and keep up with a rapidly changing consumer market.

According to Xiong Xiaojun, CEO of, a one-stop network food ordering platform based in Beijing, his company has signed up more than 17,000 restaurants under its flagship onto Baidu Connect to benefit its B2B customers.

The new transit also enables traditional companies accessing their customers more quickly for capital gain, and increasing commerce liquidity on Internet dividends. The follow-up servicesmay go as far as clients' financial management.

Baidu World, which is 9 years old, has released many strategic products that determine the directions of the Internet giant, which is to find a better way to maintain customer loyalty, attract new customers, best leverage technology in mobile era and, most of all, let customers find its service.

This year, the most distinguished characteristic is the ability of big data analysis offered via Baidu Connect, where customer relationships and lifestyle hobbies are analyzed during the process of online services.

According to Andrew Ng, Baidu's chief scientist, the big data use artificial intelligence in such a way that all images, voices, gestures, vision, hearing, positions, tastes and smells are analyzed via its open cloud of an energy-efficient data center. The large-scale deep learning is powered by GPU, a data factory with new generation data management, query engine and big data mining.

By reimaging the data, Baidu Connect users can foresee branding insights, know their competition through industry trends and discover new ways of doing traditional businesses.

"It is really a win-win for both Baidu and its users, whether individual or enterprise, to enter this big data platform of Baidu, where traditional users can benefit in search of a package deal, and where enterprises can maximize their business by generating new business. Along the way, Baidu Connect is a winner too with a maximized customer base," said Oliver Yu, San Jose State business school professor.

Baidu, founded by Robin Li in January, 2000, has been a legendary success in China. Headquartered in Beijing, Baidu is the first Chinese company listed on the NASDAQ 100 index.

Contact the writer at

For China Daily