One of China’s three tech titans (it’s the B in BAT), Baidu is effectively the country’s Google. It’s China’s biggest search engine, and is now investing heavily in AI and self-driving cars.
It seems like more Chinese tech giants could be at risk of being targeted by the US. According to The Information, Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu were named by a mid-level State Department official. He suggested in a speech that these companies, like Huawei, also pose security risks to the US.
The official, Christopher Ashley Ford, argued that Chinese tech companies such as Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and ZTE can’t say no to the Chinese government if it demands their assistance, adding that the government uses the companies for surveillance and social control. He also mentioned that they are now exporting their services overseas.
While Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu don’t rely on US-made components like Huawei does, both Tencent and Alibaba have stakes in major US companies. Experts quoted in the article seem divided on whether the speech will lead to actual action from the Trump administration.