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August 05, 2005

it’s oppression, but with a cute paw print logo so it’s okay

Baidu.com Inc., billed as “the Chinese Google,” sold 3.21 million shares in the United States yesterday in an initial public offering.

Baidu.com hopes to shake up the search engine field by adding a touch of that old communist pizzazz missing thus far in the American-dominated industry.

For example, type in “taiwan independence” in Google and you get a number of entries describing the issues at hand and the political ramifications of the efforts by many to explore certain courses of.. zzzzzz. Boring!

In Baidu your first two returns are titled: “Army can and will smash ‘Taiwan independence,’” and “Taiwan independence never to be tolerated.” Okay, NOW you have our attention! You like Kevin Burns, stick to Google, you’re more of a Quentin Tarantino kind of guy, Baidu.com just might be the search engine for you.

Baidu.com also has a playful side. Enter the search terms “tiananmen square” into Google and the first result references the demonstrations of 1989 that led to the massacre of an unknown number of civilian protesters. Can you say “downer?”

Baidu.com takes a more lighthearted approach and yields as its number one return a kind of AAA TripTik travel guide description of Tiananmen Square noting fun facts (It’s the largest square in the world!) and colorful architectural descriptions: “Opposite the tower in the far south is the Zhengyang Gate Tower. These fine and unique buildings arranged in perfect harmony add greater beauty and grandeur to the Tiananmen Square.” And not a single mention of the advantageous lines-of-site the towers offer to riflemen! Now that’s refreshing.

And then there’s “Falun Gong.” Rather than return a bunch of boring results as Google does, Baidu will just freeze up and stop working. Hey, we didn’t see that one coming. It’s just that kind of zany late-night Hot-Pocket-fueled don’t-know-what’s-coming-next attitude that’s been missing in the American tech sector since the creditors hauled off the last fussball table and auctioned off all the Aeron chairs.

Might there be some hesitation among American investors to put money into a search engine company that could be seen by some as oppressing free speech, one of the hallmarks of our way of life? 

Just kidding.  The entire offering was sold at $27 a share, well above the initial price talk due to strong demand.

J.

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August 5, 2005 at 11:26 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

That reminds me. Remember that one of W's strengths is his determination to learn from his father's mistakes, to avenge his father's losses and to rip the living spleens from the bodies of his father's erstwhile opponents? And it's worked. Note that second term.

Now, he keeps saying that in Iraq we have to "stay the course". And I agree, we do have to stay the course. But those words were GHWB's economic mantra in 1992 and go a long way to explaining the absence of a second term.

So, how come W forgot this lesson? Or is he trying to prove a point? Or what? Is it just one of those Bush family habits like playing golf really fast that he can't break out of?

Posted by: Michael | Aug 5, 2005 3:08:18 PM

Maybe...maybe this will be another trickle-down effect! Americas invest. company thrives and their riches trickle down into the Chinese citizenry and their prosperity will naturally lend to an American-style democracy. D'oh.

Posted by: Arethusa | Aug 6, 2005 3:42:48 PM

I'm sold. Sign me up.

Posted by: wopanese | Aug 8, 2005 12:06:12 AM

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