According to this week’s report (in Portuguese) by Brazilian news magazine Exame, Baidu is exiting the market of 210 million people.

The report by Exame

While the report is unverified, and the article (and its subsequent report) contained some factual errors, it is well known that Baidu Brazil was surviving without actual business for a long, long time.

Failed in many markets

Baidu was one of the earliest big Chinese internet companies to execute an international strategy. Offices were set up and executives expatriated in Southeast Asia, Middle East, Latin America and others.

Many of Momentum Works’s friends were part of this journey – and most of them have left the company.

The reason was simple: “I really do not know what the company is trying to achieve.” Directions changed constantly, and budget promised for projects never arrived.

Many good opportunities were missed in this way.

It was a half-hearted and not-well-thought-of internationalisation effort.

The case of Baidu Brazil

Brazil was actually supposed to be a start in the whole undertaking. The Chinese GM of Baidu Brazil speaks fluent Portuguese; it bought a deals company Peixe Urbano, prior to setting up an O2O association and actively facilitating Brazilian internet companies with Chinese experience and investment.

Happier times

Many Brazilian entrepreneurs were excited about the promise that more investment will come; however, it never did.

Baidu’s own problems to blame

Nothing wrong with the local Brazilian team of Baidu – they did their best. The real problem at Baidu happened at its headquarters, with conflicts and changes about direction, leadership, investment decision making and many others.

With the recent departure of Lu Qi, the global ambitions of Baidu seems more distant than ever.

Timing

We also think that in addition to its internal problems, Baidu also entered Brazil too early. Many of the infrastructure elements are only being put together recently, funding sources were quite limited for a long time -> the market will only take off probably in 3-5 years time.

Enough for other good Chinese internet companies and good local entrepreneurs to seize.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at hello@mworks.asia.