BEIJING • The billionaire founder of China’s top Internet search engine has declared he will fight fiercely and “win again” should Alphabet Inc’s Google decide to return to the world’s largest Internet arena.
Baidu Inc CEO Robin Li (picture) said on social media he’s confident of combating Google if needed, his first public response to reports the US search titan is plotting a return to a market it largely pulled out of in 2010.
Li’s post, to friends via his personal WeChat account, comes as Baidu’s shares have slid about 6% since the Intercept reported Google was designing a censored search engine to deploy in China within a year.
“We can now, with real knives and real guns, ‘PK’ them again, win again,” Li wrote, using a term that’s come to mean compete against. “In 2010, when Google withdrew from China, its market share was declining and Baidu’s market share had exceeded 70%.”
Google is looking at ways to re-enter China, home to the biggest pool of Internet users, through a search app that complies with Chinese censorship, as well as partnerships with local companies.
Li also referenced a commentary by the People’s Daily which welcomed Google’s return as long as it abided by local rules and regulations on censorship.
He argued China’s market had gone through “earth-shaking changes” since Google’s departure.