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Baidu hires ex-Microsoft AI expert as new COO and group president

Qi Lu will be in charge of products, technology, sales, marketing and operations.

By CBR Staff Writer

Baidu has appointed former Microsoft executive Dr. Qi Lu as group president and COO. The new exec is charged with driving the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) plans.

Lu will be responsible for products, technology, sales, marketing and operations.

Before joining the Chinese search engine giant, Lu served as Microsoft’s global executive vice president and led one of the tech giant’s three business units.

Baidu chairman and Group CEO Robin Li said AI is a key strategic focus for the company over the next decade.

“With Dr. Lu on board, we are confident that our strategy will be executed smoothly and Baidu will become a world-class technology company and global leader in AI.”

At Microsoft, Lu was in charge of business across productivity, communications, education, search and other information services, such as Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Microsoft Office, Skype, Lync, Yammer, Bing, Bing Apps, MSN and Advertising platforms.

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Prior to joining Microsoft, Lu spent ten years at Yahoo, including as senior vice
president in charge of search and advertising technologies. He became executive vice president in 2007.

Before joining Yahoo, Lu worked as a research staff member at IBM’s Almaden Research Center and Carnegie Mellon University.

On joining Baidu, Lu said: “Baidu is well known as one of China’s top technology companies, and is already recognised on the global stage as a leader in AI.

“I am excited to help realise Baidu’s visionary AI strategy. To be part of Baidu’s evolution into a world-class technology company for the AI-era is a tremendous opportunity.”

Baidu launched a $200m fund in October to focus on AI, augmented reality and deep learning. A $3bn fund was unveiled in September targeting mid and late stage startups.

Last September, the Chinese tech giant partnered with US chipmaker Nvidia to develop an artificial intelligent based self-driving car. The partnership combines its cloud platform and mapping technology with Nvidia’s self-driving computing platform.

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