Lu Qi (born September 3, 1961) is a Chinese software executive and engineer. Lu previously was the Executive Vice President at Microsoft, leading the company’s work on the Bing search engine, Skype, and Microsoft Office, and before that was a technology developer and manager for Yahoo!’s search technology division. (Source: Wikipedia)

When Lu Qi, a well respected senior Microsoft executive, became the COO of Baidu, many expected big changes. A few highlighted that with Lu Qi’s assumption of power, Chief Scientist Andrew Ng, a famous AI pioneer, was ousted.

Andrew Yan-Tak Ng (born 1976) is a HongKongese American computer scientist and entrepreneur. He is one of the most influential minds in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. Ng founded and led Google Brain and was a former VP & Chief Scientist at Baidu, building the company’s Artificial Intelligence Group into several thousand people. (Source: Wikipedia)

We wrote a while ago on why Baidu is falling behind Alibaba & Tencent. It seems the same forces are still playing: just this afternoon, it was announced that Lu Qi stepped down from daily operations “for personal reasons”.

The fact that Lu Qi thrived at Microsoft but didn’t survive at Baidu probably says a lot about the different between the two companies’ cultures.

The person replacing Lu Qi is the relatively unknown Haifeng Wang. Last year, it was exactly Wang who took over from Andrew Ng; and Wang previously led a number of key search products at Baidu.

Wang’s ascent probably says as much about his personal power as the importance of search in Baidu’s overall strategy and organization.

For the leading independent AI startups in China and their investors, the ousting of both Andrew and Qi is probably good news. Ultimately, who wants to go against heavyweights such as the duo?

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.

 

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Jianggan Li is the Founder & CEO of Momentum Works. Prior to founding Momentum Works, he co-founded Easy Taxi in Asia, and served as Managing Director of Foodpanda. The two years running Rocket Internet companies has given him a lifetime experience on supersonic implementation, and good camaraderie with entrepreneurs across the developing world. He holds a MBA from INSEAD (GMAT 770) and a degree in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University. Unfortunately he never wrote a single line of code professionally - but in his first job he was in media, travelling extensively across Asia & Europe, speaking with Ministers & (occasionally) Prime Ministers. Apart from English and his native Mandarin, he is also fluent in French and conversational in Cantonese & Spanish. He tried to learn Latin (for three years) and Sanskrit (for six months) as well. In his (scarce) free time, he reads, travels, hikes and dives. Pyongyang, Tehran & Chisinau are among the interesting cities he has been to.