Date
17 October 2017
President Xi Jinping and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, press a button to launch Busca, the Portuguese-language service of Chinese search giant Baidu. Photo: Baidu
President Xi Jinping and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, press a button to launch Busca, the Portuguese-language service of Chinese search giant Baidu. Photo: Baidu

What to make of Chinese high-powered business delegations

Chinese President Xi Jinping has finished his four-nation swing across Latin America and has come away with deals ranging from food to railways, aircraft and raw materials.

But the most significant takeaway from the trip is that China will start to export its technology to other emerging countries.

Robin Li, chief executive of Baidu, China’s version of Google, was among a slew of business leaders who accompanied Xi to Brazil.

On Thursday last week, the search giant officially launched its Portuguese-language service, Busca. At the launch, President Xi and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, pressed a ceremonial button together to start the service.

Baidu Busca offers text, image and video search. The Brazil search page also integrates multiple Baidu services such as website directory Hao123, Spark browser, Baidu antivirus and more.

Baidu said it will work closely with the Brazilian government on technology and innovation in the next few years.

The Brazil service is a sign Baidu is ready to expand its international profile. The news drove Baidu’s share price to a record high on Monday, boosting its market value to nearly US$70 billion.

A decade ago, it would have been hard to imagine China exporting its technology. Then its chief claim to fame was being the world’s factory.

But we could see things were changing by the way Chinese delegations were being put together and sent overseas in the past 20 years — and who were in them.

In the 1980s when China had just opened itself to the world, it thirsted for energy and resources, so these missions were mainly from the resources industry.

In recent years, movers and shakers in the technology and innovation sectors have been going with the country’s leaders on official foreign visits.

China Youth Daily reports that business delegations are chosen according to the needs of the host country. From President Xi’s latest official visits, we know these needs were related to technology.

In fact, China is putting great effort in promoting the technology industry.

This month, Xi brought the biggest Chinese business delegation yet when he visited South Korea. Robin Li, Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Huawei president Ren Zhengfei went with him.

Li said that as the world’s biggest internet market, China can attract overseas talent looking to make a career in technology. That would make China a place of great opportunity for these people, perhaps more than the United States.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]

RA

EJ Insight writer

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