China’s largest search engine provider Baidu Inc announced on Friday that it will launch another R&D facility in Silicon Valley to lure more talent and keep propelling its advances in artificial intelligence (AI), according to a Bloomberg report.
The second R&D footprint in Silicon Valley will add capacity for 150 employees, and will be a mile apart from its existing site in California’s Sunnyvale that holds about 200 people, the report added.
Baidu has put AI development as one of its top priorities for further revenue growth as the company has lost ground to competitors in China, Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group, Bloomberg said. The report added that Baidu owns about 1,300 engineers working on the technology across sites in China and the United States.
The news follows Andrew Ng, a first-class AI expert in the world, last week announcing his departure from Baidu after serving for three years. Ng served as Baidu’s chief scientist, and the decision has widely been seen as a big blow to Baidu’s ambitions for AI development.
Zhang Yaqin, once a leader of Microsoft Corp’s R&D operations in Asia and now chairman of Baidu USA, will chair the two Silicon Valley facilities, according to Baidu.
Talking to Chinese media on Sunday, Zhang said he agrees with Baidu’s founder Li Yanhong’s statement that China has the chance to become a leader in AI globally. Zhang also admitted that companies like Google and Facebook currently possess much more advanced AI technologies than the Chinese.
As well as establishing R&D plants in the US, Baidu is also likely to extend to other countries as the company attempts to attract more global talent.