Robin Li

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Robin Li
Robin Li at the Web 2.0 Summit 2010 (cropped).jpg
Robin Li at the 7th Annual Web 2.0 Summit in 2010
Born Yanhong Li / 李彦宏
(1968-11-17) 17 November 1968 (age 45)
Yangquan, Shanxi, China
Residence Beijing, China
Nationality Chinese[1]
Alma mater Peking University
University at Buffalo
Occupation Chairman and CEO, Baidu Inc.
Board of Directors, Education & Technology Group Inc.
Net worth US$12.231 billion (2013)[2]
Spouse(s) Dongmin (Melissa) Ma / 马东敏
Children 4 children
Robin Li
Simplified Chinese 李彦宏
Traditional Chinese 李彥宏

Robin Li (simplified Chinese: 李彦宏; traditional Chinese: 李彥宏; pinyin: Lǐ Yànhóng; born 17 November 1968) is a Chinese Internet entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of a China search engine Baidu and is ranked as the richest man in mainland China with a net worth of US$12.231 billion as of December 2013.[2]

Li studied information management at Peking University and the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. In 2000 he founded Baidu with Eric Xu (徐勇). He has been the CEO of Baidu since January 2004, which was listed on NASDAQ in August 2005.[3] Li has been listed as one of the 15 Asian Scientists To Watch by Asian Scientist Magazine on 15 May 2011.[4]

Early years[edit]

Li was born in the city of Yangquan in Shanxi Province, China, where he spent most of his childhood. Both of his parents were factory workers. Li was the fourth of five children, and the only boy.[5]

Li was admitted by Yangquan First High School by achieving the second highest grade in the entrance exam. In high school, Li enjoyed computer classes and participated in numerous programming competitions city-wide. In 1987, Li participated in China's National Higher Education Entrance Examination and achieved the highest score among all examinees in Yangquan.[citation needed] Subsequently, he enrolled at Peking University where he studied information management and earned a Bachelor of Science degree.

In the fall of 1991, Li went to the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York in the US to study for a doctorate in computer science. He received his Master of Science degree in 1994 after deciding not to continue with the PhD.[5]

Road to Baidu[edit]

In 1994, Li joined IDD Information Services, a New Jersey division of Dow Jones and Company, where he helped develop a software program for the online edition of The Wall Street Journal.[6] He also worked on improving algorithms for search engines. He remained at IDD Information Services from May 1994 to June 1997.

In 1996, while at IDD, Li developed the Rankdex site-scoring algorithm for search engine page ranking,[7][8][9] which was awarded a U.S. patent.[10] He later used this technology for the Baidu search engine.

Li has worked as a staff engineer for Infoseek, a pioneer internet search engine company, from July 1997 to December 1999.

An achievement of his was the picture search function used by[11]

In the twelve years since founding Baidu in January 2000, Li has turned the company into the largest Chinese search engine, with over 80% market share by search query, and the second largest independent search engine in the world.[citation needed] On August 5, 2005, Baidu successfully completed its IPO on NASDAQ, and in 2007 became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 Index.

He appeared in CNN Money's annual list of "50 people who matter now" in 2007.[12]


In 1998, he published the book Business War in Silicon Valley 硅谷商战 in the Mainland according to his work and life experience in Silicon Valley. Li also received the George W. Thorn Award, given to University of Buffalo graduates under the age of 40 for national or international contributions to their field.[13]

At the end of 1999, he brought venture capital back to China to found Baidu with his friend Eric Xu.

In 2001, he was named "the Chinese Top Ten Innovative Pioneers" 中国十大创业新锐

In 2002 and 2003, he was named of "IT Ten Famous Persons" IT十大风云人物

In April, 2004, he was named the second session of "Chinese Software Ten Outstanding Young Persons"中国软件十大杰出青年

On 23 August 2005, he was named the twelfth session of "ASEAN Youth Award" 东盟青年奖

On 28 December he was named a "CCTV 2005 Chinese Economic Figures of The Year" CCTV2005中国经济年度人物

On 10 December he was named 2006 world’s "Best Business Leader" of the American Business Weekly 美国《商业周刊》2006全球"最佳商业领袖

Personal life[edit]

Robin Li is married to Dongmin (Melissa) Ma. In 1995, Li met Ma at a social event of Chinese students in the Greater New York area. They instantly developed a liking for each other. They dated for 6 months before married on October 10 the same year in New Jersey, and now have four children, three daughters and one son.

His elder sister Dr. Li Xiuling worked at the University of Illinois.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Robin Li Passes Wang Jianlin as China’s Wealthiest Man". Bloomberg. 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  3. ^ Taipei Times (7th Aug 2005)
  4. ^ "The Ultimate List Of 15 Asian Scientists To Watch – Robin Li". May 15, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "李彦宏 - MBA智库百科" (in (Chinese)). 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  6. ^ Taipei Times: "Robin Li's vision powers Baidu's Internet search dominance" (17th Sep 2006)
  7. ^ Greenberg, Andy, "The Man Who's Beating Google", Forbes magazine, October 05, 2009
  8. ^ Yanhong Li, "Toward a Qualitative Search Engine," IEEE Internet Computing, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 24-29, July/August 1998, doi:10.1109/4236.707687
  9. ^ "About: RankDex",
  10. ^ USPTO, "Hypertext Document Retrieval System and Method", US Patent number: 5920859, Inventor: Yanhong Li, Filing date: February 5, 1997, Issue date: July 6, 1999
  11. ^ The Guardian: "Interview: Robin Li, founder of" (8th December 2005)
  12. ^ CNN Money, June 2007, "50 people who matter now"
  13. ^ "University of Buffalo Alumni Profiles". University of Buffalo. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

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