Baidu Capital, a fund jointly launched by Beijing-based internet giant Baidu, Inc. and China Life Insurance Company, on August 25 appointed Li Xiaoyang as the new CEO. Li, who is the former vice president of Baidu, will be joining the board of directors, in charge of the investment and M&A department. He is now responsible for investment, financing and overall management of the company.
Li will lead the firm in its layout of Baidu‘s AI ecology and will focus on investment in high-tech fields after assuming office.
According to public information, Li holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Tsinghua University’s Department of Electronic Engineering and a master’s degree of science from Cornell’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has worked in SoftBank SAIF Partners, M&A and Strategic Investment departments of Qihoo 360 Technology and 58.com, and therefore brings Baidu years of experience in investment, mergers and acquisitions, team management and fund operations.
He joined Baidu‘s strategic investment department as the person in charge in early 2021. During his more than one-year tenure, the firm focused on fields such as autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, and chips that are strongly related to its businesses strategies. He also successively led investment and financing projects such as JiDU, Kunlunxin Technology, Xiaodu Technology and Biomap.
During his previous tenure at 58.com, Li led his team in completing major projects such as the merger of 58.com and Ganji.com, the acquisition of Anjuke, and the split of Guazi.com. According to external evaluations, his work style is serious and pragmatic.
Founded in October 2016, Baidu Capital focuses on investing in projects in the growth stage or at middle and late stages, regarding core technology and pan-internet fields. At its establishment, the scale of funds was as high as 20 billion yuan ($2.914 billion), which would be mainly used to invest in middle and late stage projects. The average amount of each project ranged from $50 million to $100 million.
A month before its establishment, Baidu also announced Baidu Venture, with an investment of $200 million in the first phase. This firm focuses on scientific and technological innovation fields such as artificial intelligence, AR and VR, mainly investing in start-up projects. There is a big difference in the two firms’ positioning, indicating that Baidu has formed a more comprehensive layout regarding external investments.