The Chinese tech giant Baidu opens a Seattle based office, creating an additional U.S. outpost to expand its artificial intelligence and the cloud.
Baidu has been well-known as the leading Chinese language Internet search engine. It covers financial services to artificial intelligence with a special focus on computer vision, speech recognition, natural language comprehension and deep learning. In addition, Baidu is making a move to the cloud, another focus for the tech industry here in Seattle.
Search is their main business model with ever-expanding directions and focuses from there. Autonomous driving, the cloud, and numerous other avenues all are on the forefront of Baidu’s horizon. Currently, less than 50 employees are working in the Puget Sound with a plan to at least double that number in the next couple years. This could mean more employees in Seattle than in the current Silicon Valley operation. Baidu is actively looking for computer scientists and engineers, specifically in the could development field.
Valued at over $85 billion, Baidu has been growing their clout across the globe in a trifecta known as BAT, in culmination with Alibaba and Tencent. Baidu has been the leader in artificial intelligence with more than 2,000 employees in its AI department. Group President and Chief operating officer, Qi Lu maintains a house in the Seattle region and work both in Seattle and in the Beijing Baidu headquarters.
Competition is fierce among tech companies, especially in the Seattle area as more and more companies set up shop in both Seattle and the Eastside. University of Washington students are a valued commodity in tech circles where Microsoft and Amazon hope to snatch up newbies as quick as possible. Expanding companies such as Tencent, Huawei, and Alibaba also have offices in the region so it only makes sense for other large tech companies as well as for the region itself. UW professor Ed Lazowska stated, “Seattle’s calling card is serious engineering, not quickie apps [and the Seattle region is] the world center of the cloud.” [Source]
Baidu still plans to expand its facility in the Silicon Valley as well. A new office was just introduced to focus on AI and autonomous driving. The Seattle office is poised next to Microsoft in order to partner with Baidu on autonomous driving and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Baidu’s shares have increased 50% this year alone and with plans in place for a dedicated autonomous driving land in Seattle by the year 2030, Baidu is set up for success in the right city.
For more information on Baidu, it’s location and details on the Seattle housing market surrounding prominent companies in the Puget Sound region, call me anytime.