Baidu is one of China’s three tech kings, collectively known as the BAT — Baidu owns search, Alibaba leads e-commerce, and Tencent dominates gaming and social communications. The power of these three is daunting and growing, but like their American superpower counterparts — Amazon, Facebook, and Google — they face growing pains. Even as the BAT expand their ambitions to more and more industries, well-funded newcomers threaten to overshadow them, and an all-powerful government is making moves to keep their power in check.For now, they have entered the rarified ranks of the world’s largest and most valuable companies, right up with America’s tech giants. The market capitalization of Tencent has recently exceeded that of Facebook, which like Alibaba hovers around half a trillion dollars. Apple recently exceeded $900 billion, as Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft hovered around $750 billion. Baidu remains substantial, recently a bit below $100 billion, but formidable.
Isolated from American competition thanks to the Chinese government’s ban on Google, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as repeated market failures by Amazon and eBay, the BAT have chalked up remarkable double-digit growth rates for a decade.