1) Robin Li, the co-founder of Chinese search engine Baidu, was born on Sunday, November 17, 1968 in the city of Yangquan in Shanxi Province.
2) Baidu currently ranks among the world’s 10 most popular sites. Robin is the 2nd richest man in China as per 2012 Forbes China Rich List with a net worth of $10.2 billion.
3) The Asian Scientist Magazine is one of the largest scientific magazines in the region of Asia. Asian Scientist Magazine’s 15 May 2011 edition must have been surely special for Robin Li. After all, the edition of the magazine published a list of 15 Asian Scientists to watch. Among this list, name of Robin Li was also present.
4) Robin Li completed his Bachelor’s degree in Information Management from Peking University China. However, he got his Master’s degree from the University at Buffalo, The State University of NY. One common thing that exists between Peking University and University at Buffalo is that both have notable Nobel Prize winners as their alumni. Tsung-Dao Lee and Yang Chen Ning are Noble prize winners from the Peking University while Ronald Coase, Herbert A. Hauptman and Sir John Carew Eccles are Noble prize winners from the University at Buffalo.
5) Robin Li’s parent belonged to the labor class. They earned their living by working at a local factory. The couple had 5 children. Out of these five children, Robin Li is the only boy. The rest are girls. Robin is the 4th among the five children in the family.
6) Robin Li initially went to the University at Buffalo in America in order to pursue a doctoral degree in the field of Computer Science. After getting to the university in 1991, Robin Li changed his decision to do PhD and hence got a Master of Science degree instead. He graduated from there in 1994.
7) Robin Li met his wife Dongmin Ma (better known as Melissa) in 1995 in New York at a get together arranged for Chinese students studying in the USA. They instantly developed a liking for each other. Both married the same year on 10th October 1995 after dating for 6 months. The two got married in the state of New Jersey and now have four children, three daughters and one son.
8) Robin Li considers Jonathan J. Hull, his mentor and a research associate professor at Buffalo, to be one of his earliest inspirations. According to Robin, the time he spent working under Jonathan greatly influenced his life and his future. The two also co-wrote an academic paper titled: “Word Recognition Result Interpretation Using the Vector Space Model for Information Retrieval.” Jonathan today is the manager of the Intelligent Network Research Systems research group at Ricoh Innovations located in California.
9) It is a little known fact that the name of the famous Chinese search engine Baidu actually means “100 times” and the name is correctly pronounced as “By-Doo”. The name itself has been derived from a famous Song dynasty poem.
10) Some success stories really take you by surprise. When Robin Li’s Baidu first appeared on NASDAQ during August 2006, the share prices of Baidu boomed from a mere $27 to $151 in just one day of working. Something like this has never happened before in the USA’s stock market. This dot.com boom was unrealistic for many but Baidu was making it possible. In 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese company to achieve NASDAQ-100 index.
11) CEO of Baidu credits his wife Melissa for making him a successful Chinese internet entrepreneur. In 1999, the couple went for a screening at Stanford University, which featured Jerry Yang’s interview (YAHOO founder). After the screening, Melissa asked her husband that she would like to see him as a founder of an internet company. Hence, Robin Li defines his success in these words: “inspired by Yang and pushed by Melissa.” Thus, it is truly said that behind every successful man there stands a woman.
12) Robin Li is also the author of the book “Silicon Valley Business War”. Robin penned down this book in the year 1998. The content of the book was based on his personal experience of working in Silicon Valley. The book also took a deep look at the USA technological industry with reference to commercialization and development of internet search during the 1990s.
13) Robin Li sure has some notable honors awarded over the years. This includes being “IT Ten Famous Persons” during two consecutive years in the year 2002 and 2003. Also during the prestigious ASEAN Youth Awards 2005, he was honored marking his popularity among the Asian youth. Currently, he ranks 64th on the list of Forbes most powerful people in the world.
14) Robin Li was born to a poor family and in a poor locality as well. Yangquan was a city that was underdeveloped and did not offer much to its residents. Hence, the majority of the people used to migrate to other parts of China in search of better opportunities and standard of living. Even living in such circumstances, Robin never lost hope – mainly because of his mother who always motivated him to get the best in education.
15) During Robin’s second year in the high school, the school was shut down due to the pro-democracy crackdown in Tiananmen Square.
16) “Link Analysis” is the term Robin used to name the search method he created while working at Wall Street.
17) Baidu was actually founded by Robin Li and his friend Eric Xu. When the company started, Li was the chairman and Eric was the CEO. However, in 2004, Eric felt the recent restructuring left him with fewer responsibilities and hence he resigned as the CEO. The CEO chair was then taken over by Robin.
18) Do you know where was the first office of Baidu located? The office was set up in a hotel room, which was near the Peking University from where Robin graduated.
19) Robin Li’s Baidu also received critical media attention because of the listing scandal back in 2008, which saw Baidu promoting unlicensed pharmaceutical companies. Baidu has been accused of assisting censorship in China. In addition, certain music companies have made copyrights violation complaints against Baidu.
20) Robin Li ‘s charitable foundation, “the Baidu Foundation”, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works jointly on a program that motivates the smokers to quit smoking.