What is Baidu, and Why Should I Care? (BIDU)

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I’ve received a lot of questions asking what Baidu is, and why all the hoopla over Baidu?

Well, Baidu (Nasdaq symbol “BIDU” – more on that in a moment) is the Chinese search engine which is being tauted as the next Google, and which claims to be the sixth-most visited website in the world, which is, I suppose a bit of an irony, given the press which Google has received over what has been dubbed the great Google wall of China, and their capitulating to the Chinese censorship demands made of Google.

What distinguishes Baidu from Google is the ease with which you can download music and videos. See, China isn’t subject to much of those pesky U.S. copyright issues. And so Baidu became wildly popular, which was probably helped by the fact that until Google started playing nice in China, people in China trying to use Google were redirected to one of the Chinese search engines, including Baidu.

Aside from the music and video advantage, Baidu looks a lot like Google, and perhaps nowhere more than in its stock pattern. You see, Baidu decided to go public, and they had their IPO this past Friday. And just as with Google, it absolutely skyrocketed on its opening day, opening at $27.00 USD per share, and peaking at a bit over $122.00 USD by the close of business.

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The big question is, did the music and video advantage affect their initial value? And will losing that advantage affect their value in the future? Because, guess what. They have already announced plans to pull thousands of links to illegal music content, following complaints (and one might imagine, following their entry in to the U.S. market).

Still, smart investors are riding the wave. Baidu’s IPO created 200 new millionaires overnight and Google is said to have acquired 2.6% of Baidu prior to the IPO.

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