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Robin Li, MS '94

By Barbara A. Byers

Release Date: March 20, 2012

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Robin Li

Robin Yanhong Li is co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Baidu Inc., China's most popular Internet search engine, and oversees the company's overall strategy and business operations.

Since founding Baidu in January 2000, Li has turned the company into China's largest search engine, with more than 80 percent market share. Baidu also ranks as the second-largest independent search engine in the world. In August 2005, Baidu listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, and in December 2007 became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 Index.

Prior to founding Baidu, Li was already regarded as one of the world's top search engine experts. His patent for hyperlink analysis, for which he applied in 1996, is among the inventions that shaped today's search technology. Today Baidu employs 4,000 world-class search engine product and technology engineers, and was the first Chinese Internet company to create a postdoctoral research center.

With Baidu's success, China stands proudly with the United States, Russia and South Korea as one of the four countries in the world to possess its own core search engine technology. At the 2009 Baidu Technology Innovation Conference (Baidu World), Li shared his vision of box computing as the way of the future. He has substantially advanced the theoretical framework of China's Internet sciences, and has become a driving force behind the overall technology development of the entire Chinese IT industry. While satisfying Chinese-language search needs at home, Li has also proactively sought to internationalize Baidu, and is preparing for entrance into the broader international market.

As a pioneer and leader of China's Internet industry, Li has received many honors, including CCTV Key Figure in China's Economy, The Top 30 Figures in China's 30 Years of Reform and China's Most Imaginative Entrepreneur. In 2006 he received the George W. Thorn Award from the UB Alumni Association, for graduates under 40 in recognition of their outstanding national or international contributions to their career field or academic area.

On several occasions, U.S.-based magazines such as BusinessWeek and Fortune have designated Robin's as Best Business Leader in the World and China's Most Influential Business Leader. Robin was also named by Time Magazine as one of the World's Most Influential People in 2010.