Chinese internet search provider Baidu might soon leave the United States stock market in order to return to China’s A-share market, as the company plans to expand its online-to-offline services program. The news comes from Baidu CEO Robin Li in remarks made to local media outlet Sina Tech News.
Baidu has been the largest Chinese search engine for over a decade.
The company is optimistic that Chinese internet users will enable it to function as a program for certain online-to-offline services. Users will be able to utilize Baidu to accomplish everyday tasks such as having laundry delivered, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, and getting food.
The thoughts of leaving the U.S. markets come as the company’s main focus is anticipated to shift from search to providing users with access to everyday services. This change comes as the market scale for retail and services is much larger than searches and advertising in China. Baidu expects that its revenue obtained from online-to-offline business will quickly exceed that of its old search engine business.
In China, online-to-offline services have grown at a fast pace because of smartphone technology, cheap labor, and poor traffic conditions. Investors in the United States have largely not taken part in the phenomenon, as it is an unusual situation in the eyes of Westerners, who have a difficult time understanding the trend.
Baidu has already obtained a large market share of the online-to-offline service market in China. It is particularly successful in the area of food delivery. However, since there is intense competition and little product differentiation, being able to convert market share to tangible revenue will not be easy.