Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) announced that a top executive from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Asia has been appointed to lead its new business.

Baidu logo

According to the largest Chinese internet search provider, Dr. Ya-Qin Zhang was named president effective immediately. Dr. Zhang will be in-charge of the new business of Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU). He will directly report to the company’s chairman and CEO Robin Li.

Dr. Zhang’s previous jobs

Prior to joining Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), Dr. Zhang served as corporate vice president and chairman of Asia R&D Group at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

In his position, he led the overall research and development initiatives of the software giant in Asia Pacific. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) employs more than 3,000 scientists and engineers in its Asia R&D Group, which makes it the largest outside the United States. Dr. Zhang started his career in the company as one of the key founders of Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA) in 1999.

In 2006, Dr. Zhang was instrumental in establishing the Asia-Pacific R&D Group of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and integrated disciplines across fundamental research, technology incubation, product development and strategic partnership.

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Zhang held different positions at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) such as managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, chairman of Microsoft China, corporate vice president of Mobile and Embedded Products, and most recently as chairman of Microsoft Asia R&D.

Dr. Zhang to help expand Baidu’s new business

In a statement, Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) chairman and CEO Li said, “We are delighted to welcome Ya-Qin to our senior executive team. With his wealth of technical knowledge and strong business expertise, Ya-Qin will make valuable contributions as we expand into new areas of business.”

On the other hand, Dr. Zhang said, “I’m very excited to be part of Baidu at an important inflection point in the Internet industry. Baidu has demonstrated vision, ambition, and commitment to invest in cutting-edge research and innovation that will transform the Internet industry in China and around the world. I share their vision and look forward to realizing the immense potential of Baidu in this new era.”

The reason behind Dr. Zhang’s departure from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is unknown. Some observers in the technology industry are speculating that it has probably something to do with Beijing’s bias against foreign technology companies, or due to the rapid improvement of Chinese technology firms as they to adopt western business practices to become more competitive.

China’s President Xi Jinping recently strengthened the longstanding government policy of the government to control and master new technologies and to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign patents and suppliers.

The Chinese government launched antitrust investigations against multinational companies including Microsoft, GlaxoSmithKlineplc (NYSE:GSK) (LON:GSK) and Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK).