Baidu taps rich O2O seam for growth
Online search firm Baidu Inc is widening its horizons beyond the search business to real-time services, a top official said.
Zhang Yaqin, president of Baidu said onWednesday that the online-to-offline businesses linking users with brickandservices will be the newgrowth engine for Baidu, as it redrafts its long-term growth options.
“In the past, our focus has been on searching the right information for users anywhere. In the future, we want to interconnect the real world and connect people to services.”
Zhang said despite its robust core search business, Baidu has been betting big on the O2O sector. The company has spent billions of dollars to buy startups ranging from group-buying site Nuomi, online travel agency Qunar to on-demand laundry service edaixi and boutique e-commerce mia.com.
Describing the journey as a “very exciting” one, Zhang said Baidu aims to create a platform catering to all dimensions of locationbased lifestyle, where consumers can buy movie tickets, order food deliveries and book rides as well as flight tickets.
“The O2O market is much bigger than the online search market,” said Zhang, adding that despite the cash-burning competition to snatch customers, the edge in technology will help Baidu have the “last laugh”.
The O2O sector has everything to do with algorithms and mathematics, which is key for businesses to be sustainable and profitable, he said. “It just takes some time and patience.”
Baidu reported a 36 percent year-on-year fall in third-quarter operating profit despite a since year.
Zhang said the huge opportunity in China’s O2O market may not be well understood in the United States, as the two countries are different. “In China, because of its demographics, cost structure, and population density, you can
the surge in revenue, due to the rapid growth of its O2O business.
Its American depository receipts have fallen 12.7 percent beginning of this leverage a lot of things, and the infrastructure and technology will help us.”
“That’s a huge opportunity in China, and that is the profit in the future,” he said.
Wu Zhaowen, an analyst with US-based consultancy Strategy Analytics said: “To maintain its competitiveness, it is important for Baidu to incorporate the search function with differentiated services. Mobile map services are a good option as consumers often start from location based search when looking for products or services. That said, Baidu also needs to further expand its mobile payment offerings.”
An employee from an O2O platform in Beijing selects fresh fruit according to a client’s order received via his smartphone.