Baidu Pins Hopes on Self-Driving Technology

By Eva Dou Features Dow Jones Newswires

Baidu Inc.'s president touted the Chinese internet giant's self-driving car platform Friday, a major initiative in its turnaround campaign.

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"It's a race of ecosystem versus any individual company," said Qi Lu, at The Wall Street Journal's D.Live conference in Hong Kong, about why he believes Baidu can win over self-driving rivals. He added: "Follow the logic. I'm right."

Mr. Lu was tasked in January with righting Baidu's path when he was appointed president, taking on operational command from Baidu's founder and chairman, Robin Li. Baidu's sales and reputation had suffered in China from controversies over its online ads for medical services.

Since joining in January, one of Mr. Lu's first major pushes has been to open up Baidu's autonomous-car software to the auto industry. The open-source platform is called Apollo. Baidu had previously been developing its own self-driving car.

Mr. Lu said Google is still ahead due to its early start, but he believes Baidu can catch up by working closely with partners. Baidu will announce some of its self-driving car partners in early July, he said.

"In three to five years," he said, "the ecosystem of Apollo will be ahead of any closed system."

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Write to Eva Dou at eva.dou@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 09, 2017 05:10 ET (09:10 GMT)