Founded in 2000, Baidu is an internet media company headquartered in China. It has the largest search engine in China, with 544 million monthly users on average in December 2020. The company also provides an online community platform, a user-generated online encyclopedia and a video sharing platform.
Baidu has several initiatives to support women. This includes optimising keywords relating to women in its search engine, collaborating with experts to provide online consultations on psychological problems common to women, and having a special feature in the Baidu Maps app that helps breastfeeding mothers find nurseries. Further, the company’s products have special accessibility functions to accommodate people with disabilities. The company also discloses the number of its employees with disabilities and works with staff with visual impairments to improve the company’s accessibility functions.
Baidu’s efforts to develop digital literacy include a programme for training youth, as well as providing training platforms and educational support to university educators on topics such as AI. The company also supports school connectivity by equipping schools with digital devices.
Baidu demonstrates leading practice in its cybersecurity disclosure. The company demonstrates high-level accountability for cybersecurity, has a computer emergency response team and reports the number of data breaches.
Baidu demonstrates industry best practice in its contribution to open innovation. The company is a member of numerous standards organisations, has made a high-level commitment to open source initiatives and has launched multiple open source platforms in collaboration with several universities. The company also discloses the percentage of its women employees working in research and development (R&D).
Baidu has an opportunity to develop programmes to support unconnected populations. It can also disclose additional information on its existing access-related programmes, including impact assessments. The company should also disclose how the economic value it generates is distributed among its stakeholders.
Baidu commits to respecting human rights. It also has a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints. The company does not provide a formal policy commitment to respect the ILO core labour rights. Nor does it make explicit whether it requires this from its business relationships. Furthermore, Baidu does not disclose how it identifies, assesses and takes action to address salient human rights issues in its own operations and in its business relationships. Baidu also does not engage with stakeholders whose human rights could be impacted by its operations.
Baidu publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers. The company provides no relevant evidence in relation to paying its workers a living wage, or in relation to whether it supports its business relationships in paying their workers a living wage. The company does not disclose a policy commitment stating that it does not require workers to work more than 48 hours in a regular work week or 60 hours including overtime. Baidu discloses a gender breakdown per employee category, but it does not have a publicly available statement on whether it is committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Baidu has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, and it includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in contracts with its business relationships. Furthermore, the company takes steps to identify and address bribery and corruption and has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints on the topic. The company does not disclose any relevant information in relation to tax, such as a global tax strategy or income tax payments in individual tax jurisdictions. Baidu also does not disclose its approach to lobbying and political engagement. Specifically, the company has no public statement indicating that it does not make political contributions, and it does not disclose its lobbying expenditures for its global operations.