Founded in 2000, Baidu is an internet media company headquartered in China. It has the largest search engine in China, with 622 million monthly users on average in December 2021. The company also provides an online community platform, a user-generated online encyclopedia and a video sharing platform.
Baidu has several innovative initiatives to improve digital access, one example being its Wufu AI elderly-aid plan, which provides customised smart devices for the elderly in various Chinese cities. 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 accessibility functions of its products.
Baidu’s efforts to develop digital literacy include a programme for training youth in basic digital skills, 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 an online AI education platform.
Baidu demonstrates leading practice in its cybersecurity disclosure. The company demonstrates high-level of accountability for cybersecurity, has a computer emergency response team and a mechanism to report online harm to children.
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. Furthermore, the company promotes innovation through venture capital investment and sponsoring start-ups. The company also discloses the percentage of its women employees working in research and development (R&D). Additionally, Baidu shows clear support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and uses them as a framework for setting and measuring progress on its own sustainability goals.
Baidu can disclose additional information on its existing access-related programmes, including participation metrics and impact assessments. The company should also disclose how the economic value it generates is distributed among its stakeholders.
Baidu can disclose information on its programmes or initiatives that aim at promoting intermediate digital skills. The company has an opportunity to disclose additional metrics on its existing programmes for skills development, including impact assessments.
Baidu commits to respecting human rights. It also has a grievance mechanism accessible to workers to raise human rights concerns and complaints. Additionally, the company provides a formal policy commitment to respect the ILO core labour rights within its own operations and in its business relationships. However, Baidu does not engage with stakeholders whose human rights could be impacted by its operations or provides communication channels for external individuals who might be impacted by the company to raise their concerns.
Baidu publicly commits to respecting worker health and safety and provides the percentage of its workforce covered under collective bargaining agreements. However, 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. Baidu discloses breakdowns of employees in different categories by age and gender, but it does not have a publicly available statement on whether it is committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Baidu has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, and it includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in its business relationship contracts. Furthermore, the company 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 its 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.