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百度如何赢得中国?

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Robin Li beat Google and made his search engine No. 1 in China. Now he wants to go global, but it will take some work to get the world to trust Baidu

李彦宏打败了google,确保他的搜索引擎在中国的老大地位。现在他打算进军全球,但他还需做一些功课让世界信任百度。

By Brad Stone and Bruce Einhorn

Many CEOs have admirers. Robin Li—the 41-year-old, American-educated chief executive officer of the Chinese search engine Baidu—has a fan club. And each year at the Baidu (BIDU) World conference in Beijing, the members of the Robin Li fan club come out to get close to the object of their worship.
很多CEO都有仰慕者。李彦宏--41岁,中国搜索引擎百度的受过美国教育的首席执行官--就有一个粉丝俱乐部。北京每年一度的百度世界大会上,李彦宏粉丝俱乐部的成员就会拥向他们的偶像。

On a late morning in September, about 30 college-age kids wait expectantly outside the China World Hotel in downtown Beijing. When Li emerges from a dark blue sedan, the fan club mobs him, waving signs and screaming his name while Li poses for pictures with a tight, uncomfortable smile before darting into the building to rehearse his keynote address. "Robin Li is my idol," says Yan Huifeng, a student from Sichuan University in Chengdu. Liu Zhiqiang, a student at Beijing's Renmin University of China, says: "He is handsome and very intelligent and outstanding."
九月的一个早上,差不多30名大学生年级的孩子在北京商业中心的中国大饭店翘首期待。当李彦宏乘着一辆深蓝色轿车出现时,粉丝们涌了上去,挥舞着标语,尖叫着他的名字,李彦宏则摆好拍照的姿势,露出紧绷的、不自在的笑容,然后飞快进入饭店以排练他的演讲。“李彦宏是我的偶像。”阎会峰(音)说,他是四川大学的学生。人民大学的刘志强(音)说:“他很帅,非常有才华,与众不同。”

Like much about the 10-year-old company, the Robin Li fan club isn't quite what it appears to be. The exuberance, club members say later, was coordinated by Baidu, which Yan says flew her into town and paid for her hotel. The students all say they admire Robin Li, but their loyalty to the company he founded has its limits. "If I want to know about what happens abroad, I will use Google," says one of the students. "Baidu's information is influenced by the government so much."
像这家差不多十岁的公司一样,李彦宏的粉丝俱乐部和表面上看来也很不一样。俱乐部成员后来说,表面上的繁荣是百度公司安排的,阎会峰说公司带她来北京,让她住酒店。学生们都崇拜李彦宏,但他们对这家公司的忠诚度有限。“如果我想知道海外发生了什么,我会用google。”一名学生说。“百度的信息被政府干预得太多了。”

The world knows Baidu as the search engine that kicked Google's butt out of China, with an assist from the Communist Party. The company has a 73 percent share of the world's largest Internet market by users, and has the fifth-largest market capitalization ($38.3 billion) among the world's pure-play Internet companies, trailing Google (GOOG), Amazon.com (AMZN), Tencent (an instant messaging and gaming company based in Shenzhen), and only narrowly, eBay (EBAY). It's now 57 percent bigger than Yahoo! (YHOO)—and with significantly brighter prospects. Baidu "has the best business in the world," says Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray (PJC). "It's hugely profitable, with massive growth ahead in the population of Chinese Internet users, and the government backing it up. Essentially it's a state-sponsored monopoly."
世界知道百度源于这个搜索引擎在共产党的帮助下把google踢出了中国。这个公司在世界最大的互联网市场占有73%的用户,股票市值(383亿美元)排世界单一业务互联网公司第五位,在google、亚马逊、腾讯和ebay之后,超出雅虎57%,拥有明显光明的前途。百度“拥有世界上最号的买卖”,PiperJaffray著名的分析师GeneMunster说,“它有巨大的利润,拥有中国不断增长的庞大的互联网用户,拥有政府支持,实际上是个国家赞助的垄断者。”

Baidu's stock price has more than doubled since January, when Google (GOOG) first disclosed that Chinese hackers had targeted its mail servers and announced "a new approach" to China, with the company saying it would no longer censor search results. The highly public stance ultimately led Google to begin redirecting all searches to a Google site in Hong Kong. This allows the company to avoid the strict censorship rules that Baidu and others in mainland China must follow, while also putting it at a major disadvantage in the huge Chinese market. "Every once in a while a gift is handed to you. We handed one to Robin," says Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive officer. Schmidt argues that the playing field in China has always been unfairly tilted in Baidu's favor, though he goes out of his way to stay eligible for membership in the Robin Li fan club. "Robin is an example of a clever entrepreneur," Schmidt says. "He's navigated the conflicts within China—which are ferocious."
百度的股价从一月来已翻了一倍多,当google第一次宣布中国黑客攻击了邮箱服务器,宣布启用通往中国的“一条新路”,不再审查搜索结果。这一高度的公共立场最终使google把搜索结果指向香港的服务器。这使得公司免除像百度和其他公司一样在中国大陆接受严格的审查,但这也使公司在庞大的中国市场处于不利地位。“偶尔有个礼物到你手里,我们把它送给李彦宏。”EricSchmidt,google的首席执行官说。Schmidt强调,中国的赛场总是偏向李彦宏一边,尽管他具有李彦宏俱乐部的资格。“李彦宏是个聪明企业家的代表。”Schmidt说,“他能协调中国内部的冲突,这些冲突往往是残酷的。”

While Li has earned the grudging respect of Google execs, Baidu's tactics are a sharp contrast with the Google founders' sincere, if not always sincerely observed, slogan: Don't be evil. If crawling the Web empirically and without commercial bias is the moral duty of a search engine, Baidu is, at least in the eyes of its competitors, not a moral company. For years legions of advertisers have complained on Chinese Web forums that Baidu secretly penalizes the search rankings of websites that decrease their spending on Baidu. Archrival Chinese Internet company Alibaba, Jack Ma's Internet conglomerate that runs the Taobao e-commerce site and is 40 percent owned by Yahoo, says Baidu unfairly penalizes the search ranking of companies that accept ads from some Taobao merchants.
虽然李彦宏赢得了google管理层不情愿地尊重,但百度的战术与google创始人一直真诚标榜的标语“不做恶”形成鲜明的对比。如果不带商业偏见仅凭经验抓取网页是搜索引擎的道德职责,至少在竞争者眼中,百度不是个道德的企业。多年来,广告主们在网络论坛里抱怨百度秘密修改网站在搜索中的排名,让那些减少向百度支持广告费的网站处于不利地位。百度竞争对手、中国的互联网企业阿里巴巴说,百度不公平地使一些接受淘宝商家广告的企业在搜索结果中排名降低,阿里巴巴是马云创建的互联网公司,旗下有淘宝电子商务网站,其中雅虎占40%的股份。

Robin Li disputes these allegations, saying the company never links search results and advertising. "We have a Chinese wall within the company" between the search and ad teams, he says, without irony. "These are all conspiracy theories. In reality we have no incentive to do that. Paid search is proven, and we are very confident we will be able to make a lot of money by doing the right thing for users and advertisers." Many Chinese are nonetheless quick to believe the worst about Baidu: In 2008 the company quickly denied Internet chatter claiming it had taken money from Sanlu Group, a dairy producer that had sold milk powder tainted with the toxic chemical melamine, to keep the scandal out of search. At least six children died and more than 54,000 were hospitalized. Baidu has conceded that it has sometimes been too lax in policing its advertisers. In late 2008 the company acknowledged it had prominently listed ads from medical companies that weren't properly licensed, though Greg Penner, an early investor and Baidu board member who also serves on the board of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), points out that no one in the Chinese search industry was vetting these advertisers.
李彦宏质疑这些指控,宣称公司从不把搜索结果和广告关联。在搜索组和广告组间,“公司有一堵中国式的墙”,他说,这不是反语。“那些都是阴谋论。实际上我们不鼓励做这样的事儿。付费搜索已被证明,我们非常有信心可以做对用户和广告商都有利的事儿,并从中赚到钱。”尽管如此,很多中国人很快相信百度的一些恶行:2008年,公司迅速否认网络上宣称百度收了三鹿集团贿赂的传言,让丑闻无法出现在搜索中。后者是一家乳品商,生产参有三聚氰胺的奶粉。至少6名儿童死亡,54000人住院。百度承认有时对广告客户的审查比较松懈。2008年后期,公司承认推广一些没有获得许可的医药公司的广告,尽管公司早期投资人GregPenner指出,在中国搜索引擎公司,没人审查广告主资格。Greg Penner是百度董事会成员,同时也是沃尔玛的董事,

One more denial: Baidu says it is not a kingdom built on Internet piracy, though music companies say its popular MP3 service allows users to download just about any song ever recorded for free. The recording industry sued in 2005, but Chinese district and appeals courts sided with Baidu, which says it's merely giving users the content they want by linking to popular music websites.
还有一则针对指控的反驳:百度说他们不是建立在互联网盗版商的王国,尽管音乐公司说他们的MP3服务提供任何录音作品的免费下载。唱片工业在2005年起诉,但是中国地方法院和上级法院都偏向百度,法院认为百度仅仅是向用户提供他们需要的音乐网站链接。

For many people outside China, these issues are minor compared with censorship. Like all Chinese Web companies, and Google's Chinese language site until this year, at the behest of the Chinese government Baidu blocks pornography or references to topics such as Taiwanese independence, the Dalai Lama, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. The practice is called zi lu, or "self-discipline," and Baidu does it well. Last year the company accepted one of 20 awards from the Internet Society of China, given for what the group calls "industry self-regulation."
对中国之外的许多人来说,这些指控相比审查制度来说显得微不足道。像中国所有互联网企业一样,在中国政府要求下,百度屏蔽色情内容,屏蔽有关台独、达赖喇嘛、和天安门事件的关键词,google中文版直到今年才免于接受审查。实践中,这被称作“自律”,或者“自我管理”,这点百度做得很好。去年,百度接受了中国互联网协会20个奖项中的一项,这项奖被称为“行业自律”奖。

Li, the fourth of five children born to factory-worker parents in Yangquan, a city of 1.3 million in northern China, received his bachelor's degree from the prestigious Peking University in 1991, and got a master's in computer science from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1994. He has spent years in America, and speaks flawless English. His fidelity to China is nevertheless unquestioned. Li says that Baidu manipulates search results to obey the law of the land and that failing to comply would risk its license to operate in China and let down users and investors. "If the law clearly prohibits certain types of information, be it porn, or anti-government information, then I'm sure there's a reason for it," he says a few days before the Baidu World event, while sitting in the rooftop rock garden at his company's new headquarters, a 91,500-square-meter building (complete with a gym, yoga studio, and nap rooms) in the city's bustling Shangdi district. Of censorship broadly, Li says: "I'm an entrepreneur. I'm not a politician. I should not be in a position to make this kind of a call."
李彦宏出生在阳泉一个工人家庭,在五个孩子中排名老四。这是一个有130万人的中国北方城市。他1991年在北京大学取得学士学位,1994年在美国纽约州立大学布法罗分校取得计算机硕士学位。他在美国住了多年,说着完美的英文。但他对中国的忠实仍不成为问题。李彦宏说,百度控制搜索结果必须顺从大陆的法律,如不遵守则会危及公司在中国运营的许可,让投资者失望。“如果法律明确禁止某类信息,也许是色情,或者是反政府的信息,我肯定这是有缘由的。”在百度世界大会前几天他在公司新总部的顶层花园里说。新总部在熙熙攘攘的上地,是个91500平米的建筑,拥有健身房、瑜伽室、休息室。关于广泛的审查制度,李彦宏说:“我是个企业家,不是一个政客。我不应该在这样一个位置承受这样的称呼。”

Instead, Li is focused on the future: expanding into games, e-commerce, and online payments, establishing a Hulu-like video site called Qiyi, and exporting the Baidu brand abroad. He says engineers are translating the site into a dozen languages. "I hope in ten years, Baidu will become a household name in 50 percent of the world. Sooner or later you will see a China-based company that really has a global impact and I think Baidu has a chance to become one of those companies. We should be able to compete on a global basis."
作为替代,李彦宏关注未来:扩张业务到游戏、电子商务、在线支付,建立一个叫做奇艺网的像Hulu网一样的视频网站,把百度品牌输出到国外。他说,工程师正把网站翻译成多种语言。“我希望在十年内,百度可以在半个地球成为一个家喻户晓的名字。早晚你会看到一个中国公司可以真正的有世界影响力,我像百度有机会成为一个这样的公司。我们可以在全球规则下参与竞争。”

Before Baidu expands, however, it needs to answer an obvious question in an age when even the most transparent of Internet companies are struggling to maintain the faith of their users. "Why should I trust Baidu?" asks Rebecca MacKinnon, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation who writes about the Chinese Internet. "For the same reason nobody trusts the Xinhua news agency when it tries to expand into global readership, it's going to be very difficult for any Chinese companies that deal with content to get anyone to trust them outside of China."
然而,在百度扩张前,他需要回答在这个时代一个明显的问题,这个时代甚至最透明的互联网公司都在努力维持用户的信任。“为什么我要相信百度?”RebeccaMacKinnon问,她是新美国基金会高级合伙人,写关于中国互联网的文章。“同样的理由,当新华通讯社试图扩张全球读者时,没人相信它,任何制造内容的中国企业试图让中国之外的人相信它都非常困难。

This past June, Baidu hired Kaiser Kuo, an Internet pundit and former guitarist of the '90s Chinese metal band Tang Dynasty, to fill the new position of director of international communications. Kuo's role, in part, is to help tell Baidu's story to the world. "This is a company that looks a lot better on the inside than it does on the outside," he says.
去年六月,百度雇佣了郭怡广,他是互联网权威人士,中国90年代重金属乐队唐朝的吉他手。百度任命他担任国际联络主管。郭怡广的角色,一部分是要把百度的故事告诉世界。“这是一个在国内形象比国外更好的企业。”他说。

Baidu says it's not evil, just misunderstood. And because it's expanding into fields like e-commerce and video games, and plans to get into markets outside of China, the company wants the world to know it better. And to trust it.
百度说它不是恶魔,只是被误解。因为它扩张业务到电子商务和视频游戏,又计划取得中国以外的市场,这个企业希望世界知道它的好,并且信任它。

Key to the rollout and renovation of the Baidu brand is the selling of Robin Li. Once a Silicon Valley cubicle jockey earning around $45,000 a year at Infoseek, a forgotten portal from the Web's past, Li is now the second-richest man in China, with a fortune valued at $7.2 billion according to Forbes magazine.
展示推广百度品牌的关键是兜售李彦宏形象。曾经这个硅谷技师在Infoseek一年通过搜索业务可挣约45000美元,后者是互联网历史上被遗忘的一个门户网站,而李彦宏现在是中国第二富翁,福布斯杂志估算他的财富总值有72亿美元。

Li is a poised but uninspiring public speaker and guarded in conversations with the press. Friends and colleagues say he is still essentially an engineer, and that his devotion to Baidu defines him. They tell stories of countless nights Li worked straight through, and of the times he fell asleep in his car after the drive home because he was too tired to walk to the front door. As for his faith in Baidu's future, there's this: According to public financial records, Li has never sold a single share of Baidu stock.
李彦宏是个沉着又沉闷的演讲者,和媒体谈话时充满戒备。朋友和同事都说他本质上还是个工程师,他把一切都奉献给了百度。他们说起李彦宏用工作度过的无数夜晚,说起他驾车到家后又在车上睡着,因为他太疲惫以至于无法走到前门。至于他对百度未来的信心,以此可见:根据公开的财报,李彦宏从来没有出售过手中的一份百度股票。

Recently, Li has begun cultivating an international profile. In July he attended Allen & Co.'s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, for the first time and found a natural ally in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The two have talked several times, both executives confirm. On Nov. 15, Li will participate in a Silicon Valley public forum for the first time, at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
近来,李彦宏开始打造自己的国际形象。七月,他参加了著名投资银行艾伦公司的在爱达荷州举行的太阳谷年度峰会,与Facebook创始人MarkZuckerberg相识。公司人员确认,俩人曾多次交谈。11月15日,李彦宏将首次参加旧金山web2.0峰会中的硅谷公众论坛。

Li's biggest boosters are his U.S. investors. A decade ago they backed an introverted search engineer and never anticipated he would take them on such a lucrative ride. "He had all the ingredients to be a good entrepreneur," says Hugo Shong, a founding partner at IDG Capital Partners, a firm with deep roots in China that invested $1.5 million in Baidu in 2000— a stake worth $170 million at Baidu's IPO in 2005. "We were worried about his marketing skills. He was so quiet."
李彦宏最大的拥护者是他美国的投资者。十年前,他们支持了这个内向的搜索引擎工程师,从来没指望他能带来如此丰厚的利润。“他拥有好企业家的一切素质。”IDG资本的合伙人熊晓鸽说,这个企业深深扎根中国,并且在2000年向百度投资150万美元——百度2005年上市后,这部分投资价值1.7亿美元。“我们曾担心他的市场能力,他太平和了。”

Scott Walchek, an Alamo (Calif.)-based angel investor who put $1.25 million in Baidu and made hundreds of millions as a result, said that during the early years of the company he and other U.S. investors disagreed with Robin Li at almost every turn. "Nearly everything we said he should do, Robin disagreed. And he was always right."
ScottWalchek,加州一名天使投资人,曾投资125万美元,当然也赚了上亿美元。他说,在公司成立早期,他和其他美国投资人对百度每一步都不满意。“几乎我们说应该做的,李彦宏都不同意。但他总是对的。”

Baidu is proudly Chinese, but its origins are in Silicon Valley. In 1998, Li's co-founder, Eric Xu, was a sales rep for a U.S. biotech firm who decided he wanted to make a documentary about American innovation. Enlisting well-known Chinese American documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang, Xu got interview sessions with the British-American venture capitalist Michael Moritz and future Stanford University President John L. Hennessy. When Xu landed a chat with Jerry Yang, the Taiwanese born co-founder of Yahoo, he brought two friends to the taping: a fellow sales rep named Melissa Li, and her husband, Robin.
百度以中国标签骄傲,但它的源头却是硅谷。1998年,李彦宏的合伙创始人徐勇,是美国医药公司的销售代表,他决定拍一部关于美国创新的纪录片。得到著名华裔纪录片导演杨紫烨的支持,徐勇获得了采访英美风险资本家MichaelMoritz 和斯坦福大学未来校长John L.Hennessy的机会。当徐勇与台湾出生的雅虎创始人杰里杨谈话时,他带了两个朋友帮忙录音:一个叫马东敏的销售代表以及马东敏的丈夫李彦宏。

Xu conducted the interview while Li and Melissa looked on quietly. "I got inspired," Xu says more than a decade later. "I'm sure Robin got inspired, too, seeing an ethnic Chinese who created such a powerful company."
徐勇执行采访时,李彦宏和马东敏看上去很平静。“我受到了激励。”徐勇十年后回忆说,“看到一个中国人创造了这样强大的公司,我确信李彦宏也受到了激励。”

At the movie's debut on Stanford University's campus in 1999, Xu says Melissa pulled him away from the screening and declared that she would like her husband to be an Internet company founder.
1999年,电影在斯坦福大学校园上映,徐勇说,马东敏把他从荧幕旁拉走,宣称她愿意她的丈夫成为一个互联网公司的创始人。

Li was already a true believer in search. In 1996 he received a patent related to what he called link analysis, a way to rank search listings by the number of incoming links to sites. Stanford doctoral students Larry Page and Sergey Brin would separately come up with the similar PageRank algorithm. Inspired by Yang and pushed by Melissa, Xu and Li decided to use Li's research to build a search engine for the slumbering Chinese Internet market.
李彦宏已经是搜索技术的信徒。1996年,他获得了他命名为链接分析的专利技术,通过访问来源的数量对搜索结果进行排名。斯坦福博士生Larry Page和Sergey Brin也同时研究出类似的PageRank运算法。因为受到杰里杨的激励,加上李彦宏妻子的推动,徐勇和李彦宏决定用李彦宏的研究创立一个针对刚刚启蒙的中国互联网市场的搜索引擎。

Looking for seed money, they brought their business plan to Bob King, a stalwart of the Silicon Valley investment community who put early money in Oracle (ORCL) and Intel (INTC) and had appeared in Xu's documentary. Greg Penner, King's partner at the time, recalls that Li "wanted to create a major media company. That was his vision from day one. We weren't convinced that this was absolutely going to happen. We felt like if it did happen, he was the right guy to back."
为了寻找启动资金,他们把自己的商业计划给BobKing看,他是硅谷投资银行中的强人,曾参与甲骨文和英特尔公司的早期投资,也在徐勇的纪录片中出现过。BobKing当时的合作者GregPenner,回忆“李彦宏想创建一个专业的媒体公司。这是他一直以来的设想。我们不确信这一切将会完全实现。我们觉得如果这确实发生,他仍是最适合的人选。”

With $1.2 million in seed money from King, Penner, and Walchek, Xu and Li left their wives in America and moved to a single hotel room near Peking University in Bejing. They stayed for over a year, working 15-hour-days in a nearby office. Later that year they scored an additional $10 million from IDG and ePlanet Ventures, an affiliate of Valley venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
从King,Penner和Walchek那里拿到120万美元的启动资金,徐勇和李彦宏离开他们的妻子来到北京大学旁边的一家旅店。他们呆了差不多一年,每天在附近的办公室里工作15个小时。这一年末尾,他们得到IDG和德丰杰投资机构附属公司ePlanet的风投。

In its early days, Baidu wasn't modeling itself on Google. Li and Xu were much more interested in being the next Inktomi, a U.S. firm that powered search on other Web portals and was eventually acquired by Yahoo in 2002 for $235 million. Rather than host an independent site, Baidu licensed its search index to Sina (SINA) and Sohu.com (SOHU), then the dominant portals in China, and charged them each time a user conducted a search. Busy copying Yahoo's portal business model, those companies didn't realize search's potential, concedes Charles Zhang, chairman and CEO of Sohu. "That's how Baidu captured this opportunity while [we] were not paying attention," he says.
在早期岁月,百度并没有模仿google。李彦宏和徐勇都对成为下一个Inktomi公司感兴趣,这个美国公司在其他网站嵌入搜索引擎,最终在2002年被雅虎用2.35亿美元收购。百度没有建立独立的网站,而是搜索引擎获准放在新浪或搜狐以及其他主流网站的页面上,按用户使用搜索次数向网站收费。这些公司急着复制雅虎的商业模式,根本没有意识到搜索的潜力,搜狐董事会主席和CEO张朝阳承认。“在我们不注意的时候,百度抓住了这个机会。”他说。

Those relationships frayed immediately, however, since the number of search queries—and licensing fees owed to Baidu—were constantly growing. Two people involved in Baidu's early operations recall that Sina delayed a payment while demanding to renegotiate its search deal. Warming to Baidu's power, Li temporarily cut Sina off, infuriating the larger portal.
然而,随着搜索用户上升和百度收益的增长,这种关系很快瓦解。两名百度最初的员工回忆,新浪延迟支付报酬,同时要求就搜索业务重新谈判。意识到百度的能力后,李彦宏果断地和新浪撇清关系,这就激怒了大门户网站。

With its partnerships imperiled by its own success, Baidu began hedging and developed a website of its own. Finian Tan, then a Hong Kong-based partner at ePlanet, says he was so worried about the company's prospects that he contacted Jerry Yang, an ePlanet investor, and offered to sell Baidu to Yahoo for $40 million. It's not clear whether Yang remembered Li from the documentary shoot; he referred the matter to a Yahoo colleague, who did not respond. (Yang declined to comment for this story.) Baidu had no choice but to devote its energies to its own website. "We became Baidu.com because we were forced into it," Tang says.
百度自身的成功破坏了这种合作关系,百度开始建立并发展自己的网站,ePlanet投资的香港合伙人陈锦诚说,他担心百度公司的前景,便联系了ePlanet的投资人杨致远,提议由雅虎用4000万美元收购百度。杨致远是不是记得李彦宏和那部纪录片的关系,他把这件事儿交给雅虎的同事,后者没有回应(杨致远拒绝证实此事)。百度除了努力做好自己的网站外别无选择。“我们被迫成为baidu.com。”陈锦诚说。

By 2004, Baidu was allowing advertisers to pay to appear at the top of related search results, mimicking a model pioneered by a Pasadena (Calif.) company called Overture. Baidu was newly profitable and its traffic, along with China's Internet population, was skyrocketing. That year, Google contributed $5 million to Baidu's $15 million third round of financing, aiming to strike up a relationship with the Chinese startup. Although Google had offered search in Chinese from its servers abroad since 2000, the Baidu investment was meant to lay the groundwork for a possible acquisition and ward off the possibility that rivals could buy it, according to former Google executive James Mi, now a venture capitalist in Beijing.
2004年,百度允许广告客户付款使得相关搜索结果排名靠前,这一招是模仿美国加州帕萨迪娜市名为Overture的公司。百度开始盈利,它的业务随着中国互联网用户人数一起突飞猛进。这一年,百度1500万美元的第三轮融资中,google贡献了500万美元,此举意图建立于中国市场的关系。google前总裁、现在北京一家风投公司的老板JamesMi说,尽管google从2000年就开始用海外服务器向中国提供搜索服务,但对百度的投资一般认为是为收购打基础,同时可避免竞争对手可能的收购。

From the beginning, Baidu and Google didn't trust each other. In late 2004, Brin and Page visited Baidu's offices during a visit to China. Xu says the Baidu team scheduled the meeting during a national holiday when the office would be empty, so the Google executives couldn't see how many engineers Baidu employed. Brin and Page declined to eat the Subway sandwiches Baidu served for lunch. (James Mi recalls that this was because the Google founders had recently gotten sick from uncooked food in India and were being cautious.) When Brin asked whether the Baidu logo was a dog's paw, Li corrected him brusquely. (It's a bear paw.) "We respected Google, but as a company we were competitive and we wanted to make sure they respected us," says Xu, who left the company in late 2004 and founded a venture capital firm that specializes in biotechnology.
从一开始,百度和google就互相不信任。2004年末,Brin和Page在访问中国时参观了百度办公室。徐勇说,百度工作组把会面安排在一个国家假日,这一天办公室空出来,这样google的管理者无法看到百度雇佣了多少工程师。Brin和Page没有吃百度提供的作为午餐的赛百味三明治(JamesMi回忆这是因为google创始人在印第安纳州吃生食得了病,此后变得很小心)。当Brin问是否百度的标志是个狗爪子时,李彦宏粗鲁地纠正他(那是个熊爪子)。“我们尊敬google,但它是竞争对手,我们也要确定它尊重我们。”徐勇说。他2004年末离开公司,建立了一个专注于生物技术的风投公司。

As Baidu filed to go public in July 2005, acquisition and investment offers poured in. The story of those offers has not been told before. According to several people familiar with the submissions, Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank, the Japanese Internet giant, wanted to keep Baidu private and offered to invest $100 million at a $1 billion valuation. Yahoo and Microsoft (MSFT) made acquisition offers at a little over $1 billion. Google kept a close eye on the proceedings. Its China-based brain trust wanted the U.S. search company, valued at $27 billion in its own 2004 IPO, to bid $2 billion for Baidu. Google management in Mountain View, Calif., ultimately made a $1.6 billion bid.
2005年7月百度上市,并购和投资邀请接踵而至。关于这些邀请此前从未被谈及。对此之情的多名人士透露,软银公司创始人、日本网络巨头孙正义,想保持百度的私人性质,在百度估价10亿美元的情况下,提出投资1亿美元。雅虎和微软提出超过10亿美元的并购邀请。google对所有进展密切关注。2004年上市时google的市值达到270亿美元,它的中国智囊团提议用20亿美元收购百度,但加州山景城的google管理者最终只愿出价16亿美元。

Baidu's board of directors was split, with the U.S. partners of ePlanet's affiliate, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, aggressively lobbying for the sale to Google. "It was certainly a very stressful period for me," Li says. "During the day I would talk to potential investors and tell them why they should buy Baidu stock. At night, I picked up the phone and called the directors and explained why they shouldn't sell the company so early."
百度的董事会曾经分裂,美国合作方德丰杰ePlanet投资公司一直努力游说要把公司卖给google。“这个时期对我来说压力非常大。”李彦宏说,“那些日子我需要跟潜在的投资者谈话,告诉他们为什么要买百度的股票。晚上,我拾起电话,打给董事们,解释为什么不要早早把公司卖掉。”

Weighing the possibility that the impassioned Li might resign and scuttle an acquisition, the board voted unanimously to go public. Asad Jamal, the founding partner of ePlanet and a Baidu board member, thinks a $2 billion bid would have cemented an acquisition. "I personally think that was a missed opportunity for Google," Jamal says.
董事会权衡考虑劲头十足的李彦宏辞职来阻止并购的可能性,最后一致同意公司上市。ePlanet的创始合伙人、百度的董事AsadJamale认为,出价20亿美元可能会促成并购。“我个人认为这是google错过了一次机会。”Jamal说。

Baidu stock hit the Nasdaq on Aug. 5, 2005, and jumped from $27 to $122 in a day, briefly valuing the company at more than $4 billion and showering hundreds of millions on Baidu's early investors. News of the offering also imprinted Baidu on the minds of Chinese consumers and advertisers, and made Li China's first billionaire Web prodigy.
百度的股票在2005年8月5日在纳斯达克上市,一天内从27美元涨到122美元,粗略估计公司市值超过40亿美元,这也使百度早期投资者收获上亿的美元。上市的消息让百度品牌扎根中国消费者和广告客户心中,也让李彦宏成为中国第一个身价过亿的网络天才。

Google responded to Baidu's success by hiring noted computer scientist Kai-Fu Lee from Microsoft and opening a research and development center in Beijing. "At that time I had concerns. Google had a lot of money," Li says.
作为对百度成功的回应,google从微软雇佣了计算机科学家李开复,在北京开办了研发中心,“那时候我有点担忧,google太有钱了。”李彦宏说。

Yet Google never materialized as a threat, for reasons that no one can agree on. What's clear is that Google's China service was mysteriously unreliable, particularly when the Chinese government was angry with the U.S. Google also documented several instances when it was the victim of what's called domain name system poisoning; users typed in Google.cn and found themselves at Baidu instead.
然而google的威胁从未成形,理由说出来大家可能都不信。清楚的是,google中国的服务器诡异地很不可靠,尤其是中国政府对美国不满的时候。google也记录下很多它成为所谓域名系统中毒的受害者的例子,用户输入google.cn,打开的却是百度网页。

Some Google executives privately say they think the Chinese government was never going to let Google succeed. MacKinnon, at the New America Foundation, says the opaque Chinese regulatory system makes it difficult to prove there was official discrimination. "Did Google face a very poisonous atmosphere in China? Sure," she says. "Whether this was the result of top down policy or the fact that Baidu's government relations were simply better is impossible to say."
一些google主管私下认为中国政府根本没打算让google成功。新美国基金会的MacKinnon认为,中国的游戏规则不透明,很难证明官方歧视的存在。“google在中国是否面对不良的环境?当然!”她说,“到底这是因为自上而下的政策原因,还是百度政府关系更出色,就不好说了。”

In November 2009, Kai-Fu Lee announced he was leaving Google to start a Web incubator, throwing the company's regional leadership into disarray. Two months later, Google suffered the attempted hack on its e-mail servers, and after a debate in which Schmidt tried to persuade Brin and Page to stay in China—and was overruled by the founders—Google relocated its search servers to Hong Kong, declared itself not evil, and departed the field. "We understand from a commercial standpoint that this isn't the ideal state of affairs to compete in that market," says David C. Drummond, Google's chief legal officer. "But after a couple of years observing these content laws, we decided they weren't consistent with our values."
2009年11月,李开复宣布离开google启动创新工厂,让公司的中国地区领导层陷入混乱之中。两个月后,google电子邮箱服务器遭受黑客攻击,Schmidt劝说Brin和Page把google留在中国,却遭到两位创始人的反对,一翻争论后,google宣布它不做恶的宗旨,离开了中国大陆,把搜索服务器搬到香港。“我们知道,从生意角度说,这不是市场竞争的理想状态。”google首席法律主管DavidC. Drummond说,“但是多年与这种法律打交道,我们认为他们和我们的价值观无法并存。”

Google may have lost its battle with the Chinese government, but it was defeated first in the marketplace. Li says his original impulse when facing off against American competitors was to downplay Baidu's heritage as a Chinese company, because "in most consumer's minds, Chinese products are low quality." But in a widely televised ad campaign that referenced a popular Hong Kong film, Google was depicted as a clueless Caucasian who could only interpret a complex Chinese sentence in a single way. A scholar representing Baidu handles the sentence correctly; the Google character ends up spitting blood. "It was the easiest way to tell them Baidu knows Chinese better," Li says of the ad.
google可能在和中国政府的斗争中失败了,但这是它在市场上的首次失败。李彦宏说,面对美国竞争者,他最初的反应就是减少百度作为中国公司的属性,因为“在大多数顾客心中,中国产品都品质低”。但是在一个广为流传的百度视频广告中,情节模仿了一个流行的香港电影,google被比做一个笨拙的白种人,只会用单一的方式解释复杂的中文。一个书生代表百度,把中文句子解释得正确。google的角色以吐血结束。“这是告诉大家百度更懂中文的最简单方式。”李彦宏如此解释广告。

For years, Baidu really was better able to parse sentences in Chinese. Baidu also put more sales people on the ground to talk to advertisers, and demonstrated a better grasp of Chinese tastes. Baidu's home page has 11 links, in underlined blue, to various services such as Baidu Knows, a Q&A service; Baidu Post-Bar, a popular bulletin board; and Baidu Encyclopedia, a made-in-China alternative to Wikipedia. Like Google, Baidu is a verb: To search, users click on a box that says "Baidu It." "Robin took the best of everything that was happening in the U.S. at the time and added Chinese characteristics," says U.S. venture capitalist Tim Draper.
多年来,百度确实更有能力解释中文。百度同时派了很多销售员在实际中和广告客户谈判,用能吸引中国口味的方式谈生意。百度首页有11个链接,标有蓝色下划线,这些服务有百度知道,一个问答服务;百度贴吧,一个流行的公告板;百度百科,一个中国山寨版的维基百科。像google一样,百度是个动词:去搜索,用户点击“百度一下”的对话框。“李彦宏把同时期美国最好的一切都拿来了,加上了中国的属性。”美国风险投资家TimDraper说。

Baidu MP3 proved a particular draw for Chinese Internet users, and no wonder, since it helps users download for free. In its IPO prospectus, Baidu said its music service accounted for about 40 percent of its traffic. (It now claims that number is down to around 5 percent as interest in digital music has waned.) Baidu says it is trying to reach an accommodation with record labels and in 2008 hired Catherine Leung, a former executive at Universal Music Group, to lead the discussions. Still, Li says piracy is not his problem. "If [users] are looking for certain type of content that is publicly available, we cannot say, in order to make sure record companies are happy, let's completely block out this type of service. We choose not to do that." Sohu CEO Zhang says such an argument "is the official line. They're not conducting evil, just spreading it." Of course, Sohu also links to free tunes, and Zhang says he won't clean up his act until Baidu does. "We will just follow the big fish," he says.
百度MP3服务被证明是针对中国网民的特别制作,毫无疑问,它帮助用户免费下载。在IP0公告里,百度说音乐服务占了流量的四成(现在百度宣称随着用户对数字音乐兴趣的下降,这一数字下降到5%)。百度说它试图和唱片公司达成协议,并在2008年雇佣了环球音乐前主管CatherineLeung主导谈判。直到现在,李彦宏仍说盗版不是他的问题。“如果(用户)搜索的确定的内容是可以公开得到的,我们不能说,为了让唱片公司高兴,就把这种服务屏蔽。我们选择不那么做。”搜狐CEO张朝阳说,这样的争论“是官方姿态。我们没有做恶,只是放任它。”当然,搜狐也链接免费音乐,张朝阳说他在百度纠正前他不会清理这种行为。“我们跟在大鱼后面。”他说。

Google, because of its need to forge strong relations with the entertainment industry in the U.S., could never facilitate copyright infringement in the same way. Only in 2009 did Google introduce a free, ad-supported music service in China, in conjunction with music labels. By then it was far too late. Baidu was the fun option for the masses, while Google was viewed as the search engine for the coastal intelligentsia, who admired its brave resistance and then loud rejection of government censorship requirements. Robin Li heard about Google's threatened withdrawal from China in his car on the way to the office, via a congratulatory text message from a friend at a Chinese Web portal. "I certainly don't agree with the way they framed the issue," he says of Google's exit, noting that despite the censorship, there are millions of Chinese websites only because there is a search engine to help people find them. "There are people who don't like us. I think for a service with hundreds of millions of daily users, it's probably normal, especially when you have a competitor that claims they are anti-government, that they don't like censorship."
因为google需要打造同美国娱乐工业强有力的联系,从来不能用类似的方式侵害版权。仅在2009年,google与音乐厂牌联手,在中国开发了一项免费的、广告支持的音乐服务。这时他们已出手太迟。百度是大众的娱乐首选,google则被视为知识分子的搜索引擎,他们赞赏google的勇敢反抗,同时大声反对政府的审查要求。李彦宏在去办公室的路上坐在车里听到google从中国大陆撤出的消息,消息随某中国门户网站好友的祝贺短信发来。“我当然不赞同他们对待问题的方式。”说起google的退出,他认为,尽管有审查,但还有众多的中国网站存在,仅因为有搜索引擎可以帮助用户找到他们。“有人不喜欢我们。我想这对一个每天有上亿用户的服务,可能是正常的,尤其是当你有一个宣称反抗政府、不喜欢审查的竞争对手时。”

A few hours after greeting his fans, Li addressed the Baidu World conference. He spoke in Chinese to an audience of developers and Communist Party officials, and announced that Baidu would start placing games, videos, and maps directly within search results. Li then praised Wan Gang, China's Minister of Science and Technology, for articulating the need for such functionality.
在跟粉丝打完招呼几个小时后,李彦宏到百度世界大会现场。他用中文对台下包括技术人员和共产党官员在内的听众演说,宣称百度将直接在搜索结果中显示游戏、视频和地图。随后李彦宏赞扬了科技部部长万钢,后者清晰地表述了这些应用的必要性。

It was a moment that revealed a truth rarely visible to non-Chinese. Despite the perception of Baidu as a preferred vendor of the Communist Party, company executives say they must constantly curry favor, particularly as the Party asserts greater control over the media. "One of Baidu's biggest challenges is keeping its copybook clean with the government," says Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China, an investment advisory and consulting firm in Beijing. Kaiser Kuo puts it less delicately: "We get smacked as hard as anyone."
这一时刻揭示了非中国人很难看到的真相。尽管百度被认为是共产党首选,公司管理者说他们必须经常拍拍马屁,尤其是党还高度控制着媒体。“百度的一大挑战就是让出现在上面的政府的消息干干净净。”在北京的投资顾问咨询机构BDA公司主席Duncan Clark说。郭怡广则更微妙地说:“我们和别人挨的耳光一样重。”

The blows, particularly in the last two years, have left several marks. In November 2008, government-operated China Central Television aired several in-depth investigations about Baidu surrounding allegations that the company earned millions on ads from unlicensed medical providers, and prominently displaying these ads when users typed health-related queries. The first story ran on Li's 40th birthday, timing that no one at Baidu dismissed as coincidental. The following quarter, Baidu boosted its ad spending by 41 percent, with the bulk of the increase going to CCTV. Few Chinese Internet watchers thought it was a coincidence when the negative coverage ceased.
这些打击,尤其是过去两年内的,留下了一些痕迹。2008年11月,国家运营的中央电视台报道了关于百度的深度调查,宣称百度允许非法医药商的广告,还在用户搜索相关话题时突出显示这些广告,公司以此获利数百万元。这是李彦宏40岁生日来遇到的第一个问题,巧的是百度无人出面否认。下一个季度,百度增加了41%的广告投入,其中大部分增加的投入流向了中央电视台。很少有中国互联网观察家注意到,此时负面报道很巧合地停止了。

In August the Xinhaua News Agency announced it was developing a competing search engine in conjunction with China Mobile (CHL), one of the country's state-owned mobile carriers. In September the People's Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, appointed a former Olympic Ping-Pong player to run its new search engine, Goso. The idea of government-backed entities developing something as technologically complex as a search engine doesn't concern Baidu much. To observers familiar with how business is conducted in China, though, the announcements were a strong message aimed at Baidu: Don't get too comfortable. "The experience with Google made it very clear to the government that sometimes a commercial company will not play by the rules," says Mark Natkin, managing director of Marbridge Consulting in Beijing.
8月,新华社宣称与国有的中国移动通讯联合开发了一个具有竞争力的搜索引擎。9月,党报《人民日报》称,指派一名前奥运会乒乓球冠军负责运营报社的新搜索引擎GOSO。政府背景的机构开发像搜索引擎这样复杂的技术并没有让百度困扰。但熟悉中国商业运作的观察家们看来,这些通告像一个针对百度的强有力的信息:别想过得太舒服。“与google的经验让政府非常清晰地认识到,商业机构有时候不遵守规矩。”北京 Marbridge顾问公司执行主管Mark Natkin说。

With Baidu assured of nothing from the government, and Google fading from view, Baidu is now fighting Alibaba and Tencent in a three-way skirmish to be China's preeminent Internet company. Alibaba has blocked Baidu's search engine from cataloging products from its marketplace and is developing its own shopping-oriented search engine. Tencent has been cherry-picking engineers from Google and Baidu and vowing to improve its Soso.com search engine. "It's real war," says Tom Melcher, a U.S. entrepreneur who has lived in China for eight years. "It makes Ellison vs. Gates look tame." Proving the point, John Spelich, an Alibaba spokesman, said of Baidu in August: "These guys are like hoodlums." Kaiser Kuo responds by calling Alibaba execs "whiny little bitches."
百度没有从政府得到任何保证,google从公众视野中淡出。百度现在和阿里巴巴、腾讯作为中国互联网顶尖企业展开三角竞争。阿里巴巴屏蔽了百度对它市场中产品目录的搜索,同时开发自己的商品搜索引擎。腾讯从google和百度挖人,发誓完善自己的搜索引擎Soso.com。“这是真正的战争。”在中国居住八年的美国企业家Tom Melcher说。“这让埃利森与盖茨的对决相比都显得乏味。”能证明这点的还有,阿里巴巴新闻发言人John Spelich在8月份说起百度:“这些人就像流氓一样。”郭怡广则回应称,阿里巴巴高官是“爱发牢骚的女人”。

During rehearsal the night before his Baidu World speech, Li is asked whether he's satisfied that Baidu has struck the right balance between loyalty to the Chinese government and service for its users. "At the end of the day," says Li, "if users don't find what they want, they won't use you. If they find what they want, they come back again."
在准备百度世界大会演讲时,李彦宏被问起,他在对政府忠诚和服务用户间建立起让人惊叹地平衡,他是否对此满足。“总而言之,”李彦宏说,“如果用户找不到他想要的,他不会用你的服务。如果用户找到他想要的,他们会回来的。”

Of course, if you believe Baidu has always had a unique home-field advantage over rivals like Google, that proposition has never been seriously tested. With other Chinese Internet firms rushing to build search engines, and with Li's ambitions to move overseas where Western rivals are entrenched, Baidu is about to face more serious competition than ever before. The world's Internet users will finally get to decide for themselves whether they can really trust Baidu.
当然,如果你相信相比google这样的竞争者,百度总是拥有独一无二的主场优势,以上的说法就不必认真考虑了。中国互联网公司扎堆开发搜索引擎,李彦宏也雄心勃勃地向西方企业根基深厚的海外市场进军,百度将面对前所未有的激烈竞争。世界网民将最终决定,他们是否能真的信任百度。

标签:百度 中国
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2010-12-10 14:30 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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