Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) today announced a series of measures to support content creators on its mobile platforms and set out its overall mobile strategy at the 2020 Wanxiang Conference, an event hosted by the company’s Mobile Ecosystem Group (MEG), which marked the one-year anniversary since Baidu’s search, feed, and mobile businesses were consolidated under MEG. In light of impressive user growth and increased average time spent on the flagship Baidu App over the past year, Baidu said it will continue to use AI to improve its mobile ecosystem, with the aim of providing higher-quality content and services to the one billion-plus users of Baidu’s family of apps.
More Support for Content Creators
Baidu announced eight initiatives that will provide subsidies and direct more user traffic to high-quality content creators and developers, in part to incentivize more livestream and short-video content. Baidu also announced that it will cross-publish content across its wide-range of mobile platforms, including Baidu App, smart mini programs, Baidu Wiki, which features high-quality information compiled by experts in specialized fields, short video app Haokan, and iQIYI, an innovative market-leading online entertainment service provider. Cross-publishing content is expected to bring more exposure for content creators, increase communication between users and creators, and enhance the interconnectivity of Baidu’s mobile ecosystem.
“We will break open barriers between the platforms of Baidu’s mobile ecosystem so that any creator’s work on any platform can be viewed and used by users on other platforms,” said Dou Shen, Executive Vice President of Baidu.
Through these steps, Baidu aims to support the growing number of content creators and developers that help serve users on Baidu’s platforms. At present, Baijiahao publisher accounts exceed 3 million and Haokan has 800,000 accounts for media organizations and other creators of professional user generated content (PUGC). Baidu also intends to enhance the service capabilities of Baidu’s 420,000 smart mini programs, which currently provide a wide range of services, including government services, shopping, and tourism.
Livestream Capabilities Serve Both Users and Creators
With Baidu’s twin engines of search and feed, Baidu is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growing popularity of livestreaming, which has become an important medium for acquiring knowledge, entertainment, and shopping. Search and feed enable Baidu to understand users’ preferences, so Baidu can deliver personalized services to users and connect them with relevant content creators. For example, since the outbreak of COVID-19, Baidu has promoted livestreams of the Forbidden City to users who have been unable to visit in person. When users view a livestream on Haokan that recommends a certain book, Baidu can direct them to a smart mini program where they can purchase that book.
“In 2020, we intend to be more active in promoting the entire Baidu livestreaming business. We have capabilities to organize very targeted livestreams to attract users, and provide corresponding services that meet users’ unique demands,” Shen said during the conference.
“Baidu’s mobile ecosystem hopes to provide users an improved and faster mobile experience with end-to-end services,” Shen added. “At the same time, we want to equip creators and developers with effective platforms for showcasing their content and services to users.”
AI-Powered Mobile Strategy Shows Clear Dividends
At the conference, Baidu also highlighted the success of MEG’s efforts over the past year to integrate the company’s leading AI capabilities into its mobile ecosystem, with Baidu’s mobile products seeing increased user numbers, user satisfaction, and stickiness.
Baidu App’s daily active users (DAUs) have surpassed 230 million, smart mini programs’ monthly active users (MAUs) have reached 500 million, and average use time has increased 30%, according to Xiaoli Ping, Baidu Vice President and General Manager of Baidu App. Moreover, Baidu App satisfies 58% of search queries with the first result.
AI has been the driving force behind improvements to Baidu’s mobile ecosystem. Cutting-edge knowledge graph and natural language processing technologies enable Baidu’s platforms to better understand users’ information requests and find content that matches their needs. Powered by Baidu’s WaveRNN real-time speech synthesis technology, the “Read and Listen” mode on Baidu App’s feed features AI readouts of original news stories and of AI-generated news summaries. By integrating AI into its mobile platforms, Baidu can deliver higher-quality content and services to users in different scenarios.
By supporting content creators and encouraging livestreaming, Baidu hopes to build on its successful strategy of using AI to meet users’ diverse and changing content needs and provide a range of mobile-based services.
In line with Baidu’s belief that AI technology is a force for good, at the conference, Baidu also launched the Xingchen Initiative to provide AI technology, computing power, resources, and user traffic to NGOs and developers to help them tackle public welfare issues.