Like Li, today’s returnees
still have a shot at success. "As long as the technology is changing,
there are still many opportunities, so coming back to China is always a
good option," Li said.
China’s big consumer market is the gateway
to its next level of growth, Li said. "When we come up with a new idea
at Baidu, we don’t have to debate it--we go try it out on a one percent
sample of our customers—that’s 5 million people," he said. "There
weren’t platforms life that before."
With such reach, "there are challenges we can encounter before the U.S., and so we have a
lot better chance of innovating--there is a great opportunity to have a
lot more innovation in China," he said.
"It’s ridiculous that we
don’t have more truly international companies in China," said Li. "People are satisfied focusing on the China market, and it’s hard to
blame them for the time being."
Baidu is now entering
markets surrounding China, but Li declined to comment on whether it
would open a U.S. office. "Today we believe we are able to compete for
talent, so we are on the way," he said.