Chinese search engine giant Baidu has launched an anti-corruption investigation into its own executives. Following reports that three of its department heads were being probed, Baidu, often described as the Google of China, told AFP that it was indeed probing its executives for graft. However, the Beijing-based company declined to reveal further details such as how many employees were under investigation.
Baidu trying to create a transparent environment
Baidu said that the internal anti-corruption action would create a transparent working environment. The company called on all its employees to respect national laws and company ethics. On Monday, Chinese site Sina reported that Baidu was investigating three of its department heads. Baidu is not the only Chinese company marred by corruption charges, though.
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Earlier this year, a Chinese regulator had accused Alibaba employees of taking bribes from merchants in exchange for favors. Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched an anti-corruption campaign since he came to power in 2013, targeting both high-ranking and low-ranking officials.
Baidu has fired many employees in the past on corruption charges
Baidu’s probe is being conducted by its own “Ethics & Morality Construction” department rather than the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline and Investigation. Last November, Baidu fired five senior officials for bribery. It had also fired four employees in 2012 on similar charges.
The Chinese search engine giant reported its first-quarter earnings on April 30. Baidu’s revenue growth slowed, but it has successfully transitioned to mobile. About 50% of its revenue in March quarter came via mobile. Baidu’s first-quarter revenue rose 34% to $2.05 billion, but net income declined 3.4% YoY to $395.1 million.
Last month, Baidu quietly shut down its Japanese-language search engine. The company had been in Japan for over eight years, but failed to gain traction in a market still dominated by Yahoo! Japan and Google. However, the company said it would still maintain an office in Japan to promote the Simeiji app, a Japanese-language Android and iOS keyboard input.
Baidu shares inched up 0.24% to $194 in pre-market trading Monday.