Baidu Inc. (BIDU), China’s biggest Internet company by market value, said it will set up a new center for international operations in southern China, stepping up efforts to add overseas users and revenue.
International expansion is an “important way” for Baidu to drive future growth, Chief Executive Officer Robin Li said today in Shenzhen, where the company is building a 220,000 square-meter complex to be opened in 2015. The facility will also accommodate the mobile Internet business, he said.
Baidu started services in Arabic and Thai last year as the Beijing-based company boosted plans to expand internationally after overcoming competition from Google Inc. (GOOG) to dominate in China’s search-engine market. Chinese Internet rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd. (700) and Alibaba.com Ltd. (1688N) have also acquired online assets overseas.
The new Shenzhen office complex will be able to house 10,000 employees, Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo said by phone today. Baidu at present has about 15,000 employees, he said.
In May, Baidu said it’s working on services in 12 foreign languages. The Chinese company, which started a Japanese service in 2008, rolled out products in Arabic and Thai in September.
Robin Li’s wealth increased to $9.2 billion from $7.2 billion a year earlier, ranking him behind only Sany Heavy Industry Co. Chairman Liang Wengen among China’s richest, according to Forbes Asia.
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