Silicon Valley offers Baidu greater access to talent, opportunities and resources

Chinese search engine giant Baidu recently held its Big Talk summit in Mountain View, California to show off its latest work. The company has held six such events in China, but this was the first talk in the United States. At the event, Baidu revealed its R&D activities, including investments of $300 million into an artificial intelligence project that would help computers function more like a human brain.

Baidu

Baidu’s Sunnyvale R&D center has 120 scientists

The Beijing-based company also talked about its projects for the development of online education and digital medicine, reports Mark Niu of CCTV America. To boost innovation, Baidu has been competing with Silicon Valley heavyweights such as Google and Facebook to attract top talent. The company opened its R&D center in Sunnyvale in late 2013.

The R&D center current houses more than 120 scientists led by Andrew Ng. Baidu hired Ng as chief scientist in May 2014. Andrew Ng was the former head of Google’s Deep Learning project and a professor of artificial intelligence at Stanford. Alex Lu, head of technology at Baidu’s U.S. operation, told China Business News that Silicon Valley offers it greater access to talent, opportunities and resources.

Baidu is differentiating itself from Alibaba, Tencent

James Peng said he left Google to join Baidu because when the Chinese company came to Silicon Valley, it had little technical talent there. It was like building a business from scratch. Last year, Baidu was ranked among the 50 most innovative companies by Forbes. Internet industry expert Hong Bo said that Baidu’s Silicon Valley operations suggest that the company is making significant efforts to differentiate itself from other Chinese Internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent.

Alex Lu said the top priority for Baidu’s U.S. R&D center was to build a big data platform, an open cloud computing platform, and the world’s largest computer cluster for online queries. Baidu’s artificial intelligence project has already given birth to a speech-recognition technology that is more accurate that those from Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Apple.

Baidu shares ticked up 0.10% to $217.82 in pre-market trading Tuesday.