Many people have asked about the meaning of our name. "Baidu" was inspired by a poem written more than 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamour with the search for one's dream while confronted by life's many obstacles. "…hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos, suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood." Baidu, whose literal meaning is hundreds of times, represents persistent search for the ideal.
Baidu chose a poetic Chinese name because it wants the world to remember its heritage. As a native speaker of the Chinese language and a talented engineer, Baidu focuses on what it knows best - Chinese language search. Applying avant-garde technology to the world's most ancient and complex language is as challenging as it is exciting. At least people here at Baidu think so. As having diligently disclosed in the Prospectus of our recent Initial Public Offering, we believe there are at least 38 ways of saying "I" in Chinese. It is important that we master all the ways of addressing oneself in Chinese because our users depend on us to address every one of their daily queries. And trust us, pin pointing queries in the Chinese language is an art rather than a science.
Our mission is to provide the best way for people to find information. To do this we listen carefully to our users' needs and wants. Have we collected all the Chinese web pages they want to see? Are the pages current and up to date? Are the search results closely related to their queries? Did we return those search results instantly? To improve user experience, we constantly make improvements to our products and services. For example, we introduced "phonetic" or "pin-yin" search which allows our users to type in Chinese keywords using English alphabets. This feature is designed to skip the switching from English inputting to Chinese inputting and for when the user is not sure of the written form of a keyword. Our users definitely notice the many little things that we do differently to ensure a simple and reliable search experience every time.
In addition to serving individual users, we also serve as a media platform for online marketing customers. We not only provide our customers easy access to one of the largest online audiences in China but also targeted groups with defined interests as indicated by queries. Unlike traditional online advertising services which charge by flat fee, our marketing products and services are performance based. Our Pay for Performance model has taken the market by storm because it is cost effective and measurable.
We know that a lot of interesting things are going on in the Internet space, but we don't want to lose focus. China's Internet search industry is only a newly discovered territory. We see vast untapped grounds in our home base and we believe there are still plenty of prizes to be claimed by the best players.