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Baidu Baike

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Baidu Baike
The main page, on 1 February 2016
Type of site
Online encyclopedia
Available inStandard Chinese
Created byRobin Li
URLbaike.baidu.com Edit this at Wikidata
RegistrationOptional (required to edit pages)
Users+6.9 million (2019)[1]
Current statusActive
Baidu Baike

Baidu Baike (/ˈbd ˈbkə/; Chinese: 百度百科; pinyin: Bǎidù Bǎikē; lit. 'Baidu Encyclopedia', also known as Baidu Wiki[2]) is a semi-regulated Chinese-language collaborative online encyclopedia owned by the Chinese technology company Baidu.[1] The beta version was launched on April 20, 2006,[1] and the official version was launched on April 21, 2008, edited by registered users. As of February 2022, it has 25.54 million entries and more than 7.5 million editors.[1] It has the largest number of entries in the world of any Chinese-language online encyclopedia.[3]

Baidu officially stated that the Baidu Encyclopedia, while establishing an online encyclopedia, also serves as the information storage space provided by Baidu for netizens. Baidu Baike advocates "equality, collaboration, sharing, and freedom" in spirit, and technically combines this network platform with search engines to meet users' information needs at different levels.[4] When searching using Baidu search engine, if Baidu Baike has included the entry corresponding to the search term, its link will usually be ranked at the top of the search page.[5]

Baidu Baike has been criticised for its censorship, copyright violations, commercialist practices and abundance of unsourced information.[6][7][8]

In March 2021, Baidu Baike restricted viewing of article history to two categories of users. The first category is users who have a "wiki level" greater than 4, have an edit pass rate of over 85%, and who are in the "wiki master group". The second is users who have a "wiki level" greater than 6 and have an edit pass rate of over 85%. Baidu Baike stated that this limit was to "protect the accuracy of articles, and avoid distraction on the false information on past versions."[9]

In April 2024, Baidu announced that the dedicated Baidu Baike app, but not Baidu Baike itself, was to be shut down in June.[10]


Baidu Baike was founded by Robin Li in April 2006, following the Chinese government's decision to censor Wikipedia in 2005.[1][11]

The beta version of Baidu Baike was launched on April 20, 2006.[1] From April 5 to 20 for a period of internal testing. According to the serial number in the entry address bar, the first 10 entries were Baidu Baike, "Entries", an edit experiment (sand table page, has been deleted), Mántou (steamed buns), orchid cultivation (deleted due to typos), Yandang Mountain, Lingfeng, Dalongqiu, Wudafusong and Red Food. After 20 days, it had more than 300,000 registered users and more than 100,000 articles, surpassing the number in Chinese Wikipedia.[12] As of November 2019, it had 16 million articles and more than 6.9 million editors.[1]

Baidu's William Chang said at WWW2008, the conference of the World Wide Web Consortium, "There is, in fact, no reason for China to use Wikipedia ... It's very natural for China to make its own products."[13] When searching with the search engine Baidu, the link of the corresponding entry in Baidu Baike, if it exists, will be put as the first result or one of the first results.[14]

In March 2021, Chinese netizens claimed that South Korean netizens changed their entries related to Chinese history on a large scale through the historical version comparison function of Baidu Baike. The exposure of this incident had a negative impact on Baidu Baike.[citation needed] In order to prevent such incidents from recurring[citation needed], Baidu Baike stipulates that the historical version function is only available to users of the "Baike Expert Group" with a level 4 encyclopedia and a pass rate of over 85% and professional users with a level 6 encyclopedia and a pass rate of over 85%. Open, ordinary users no longer have the right to view historical versions of entries and use the historical version comparison function. Baidu Encyclopedia officially claims that this is to "ensure that the majority of netizens obtain the accuracy of entry information and avoid interference from outdated information in various historical versions".[15]

On April 24, 2024, Baidu posted an announcement on Baidu Baike that it would end support for the dedicated Baidu Baike application on June 30 to focus on "better user experiences".[16]


In addition to the search engine, Baidu Baike also has an information tool that is divided into twelve areas: nature, culture, geography, history, life, society, art, personalities, economy, science, sport and current events.[citation needed]

Articles are written and edited by registered users and reviewed by administrators prior to publication. There is no formal way to contact administrators. Contributions from registered users are evaluated under a scoring system. Although the test version was called the Baidu Wiki, official press releases and pages from Baidu Baike itself stated that the system for this was not a Wiki. Baidu Baike does not use MediaWiki.[citation needed]

Baidu Baike's visual style is simple. In articles, only bolding and hyperlinks are supported. Comments are listed at the bottom of each page. In addition to its Wiki-like functions, the site supports editing, commenting, printing articles and viewing an article's history.[citation needed]

Users can access multiple editing functions including:

  • an image upload system where files weighing less than 2 MB can be added to Encyclopedia articles;
  • a categorization system called open category (similar to Folksonomy used in Wikipedia), where an article can be categorized with up to 5 categories;
  • a separate edit box for notes and references and external links.[citation needed]


In this encyclopedia, any comments or articles that contain the following will be removed:[17]

  • Pornographic or violent images or texts;
  • Adverts;
  • Anti-CCP content;
  • Personal attacks;
  • Content that goes against ethics and morals;
  • Trivial, malicious or spam content.


The copyright policy is outlined on the help page in the terms of use section. In it, Baidu states that by adding content to the site, users agree to waive the copyright of their contributions to Baidu. It also states that the content must not violate intellectual property law and that content using the Creative Commons and/or GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) must respect the limitations of such licenses.[18] Despite this, Baidu has received criticism for violating the GFDL license when using content directly from Wikipedia, infringing copyright on Hudong.com and tending to plagiarize other sites.[19]


There are three organized groups within the Baidu Baike community.[citation needed] The Baike Elite Team consists of about 340 core contributors that are directed by Baidu and serve as community liaisons. There is also a group of campus ambassadors made of students and an expert team with over 2,500 members, including university professors.[1]


Baidu Baike engages in partnerships with cultural institutions in China and abroad to digitize cultural heritage. In late 2017, Baidu signed an agreement in China to create "2,000 online digital museums" in the next three years.[20] In early 2018, partnerships were expanded to cover 1,000 Spanish cities and tourist sites, including the Camino de Santiago, the Sagrada Família and the Prado Museum.[21][22]

Controversies and criticism[edit]

Baidu Baike has been accused by some critics of censorship[23] and by the former chair of the Wikimedia Foundation of copyright violation.[23][24] Additionally, Baidu Baike has also been accused of commercialization. Due to unsourced information in Baidu Baike, there are also concerns over its correctness.[25]


Critics of the encyclopedia note that it censors its content in accordance with the requirements of the Chinese government.[23][26][27] Being in the jurisdiction of the Chinese government, Baidu is required to censor content on their encyclopedia in accordance to relevant laws and regulations such as the Cybersecurity Law of the People's Republic of China and the National Intelligence Law.[28][29][30] All editors must register accounts using their real names before editing, and administrators review all edits before they become available to the public.[24] This censorship has attracted criticism.[23][26][27]

In 2013 Citizen Lab released a report saying that censorship is known to take place on Baidu Baike but "identifying outright instances or patterns in censorship can be difficult due to the (mostly) user-generated nature and oversight of the content."[26]

Copyright infringement allegations[edit]

In 2007, Florence Devouard, then Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, said that "They [Baidu Baike] do not respect the license at all, [...] That might be the biggest copyright violation we have. We have others."[23][24] Users of the Chinese Wikipedia created a list of entries allegedly infringing Wikipedia's copyright.[1] The Wikimedia Foundation decided not to pursue any legal action.[24] In response to criticism, Baidu stressed that Baike is a platform for user-generated content.[23]

Baidu Baike users often fail to list the source and mark the original author or the copyright statement of the original website when reprinting content from copyrighted websites or official publications, or completely ignore its license terms, causing infringement of the copyright of others. For example, Wikipedia entries use Copyleft's free content licensing terms, while Baidu Baike’s copyright license is not free. Baidu Baike’s use of Wikipedia’s entry content is copyright infringement. Some even copy all Wikipedia entries, which violates the copyright law of mainland China.[31]

Due to copyright issues, the content of Baidu Baike does not meet various accepted definitions of openness or freedom.[32][33][34][35]

Unsourced and inaccurate information[edit]

In addition to copyright concerns, criticism of Baidu Baike mainly focuses on its academic merits and lack of neutrality. The former is manifested in the lack of detailed and clear source references for the entries it contains, leading to the accuracy of its content being questioned.[7] Baidu Baike does not limit entries based on notability.[6]

In 2011, an online poll involving 561 Baidu Baike users showed that the main criticisms of users on Baidu Baike included "insufficient review and proliferation of wrong content", "too much plagiarism and copy-pasting and too little original work", "information contained on the entries" and "lack of authority and credibility".[25]

Vandalism and spoof entries[edit]

Baidu 10 Mythical Creatures was a humorous hoax and internet meme originating from Baidu Baike.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Zhang, Jane (20 November 2019). "How Baidu built an encyclopedia with 16 times more Chinese entries than Wikipedia". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  2. ^ Baidu Inc. (29 June 2021). "We've launched new paid consulting services on #BaiduWiki". Twitter.
  3. ^ "How Baidu built an encyclopedia with 16 times more Chinese entries than Wikipedia". South China Morning Post. 20 November 2019.
  4. ^ "百度百科是什么". 百度百科帮助. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  5. ^ "《互动百科诉百度"垄断"》". 孙超逸. 网易. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  6. ^ a b Harrison, Stephen (26 October 2021). "Why Wikipedia Banned Several Chinese Admins". Slate Magazine.
  7. ^ a b Xia Huosong, Wang Ruixin. An Empirical Study on the Impact of Baidu Baike Entry Features on Knowledge Sharing Willingness. Research in Science of Science. December 2010.
  8. ^ "网络百科要权威,人人参与还不够-新华网". www.xinhuanet.com. Archived from the original on 31 October 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  9. ^ 百度百科 (13 March 2021). "历史版本对比功能将面向百科专业编辑用户开放". Baidu Baike. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Baidu closes Wikipedia-like app as focus shifts to generative AI". South China Morning Post. 24 April 2024. Retrieved 28 April 2024.
  11. ^ Shariza Baranyanka (21 March 2018). "Baidu, l'anti-Google : comment Robin Li a créé un monopole chinois". www.numerama.com (in French). Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Baidu desafía a la Wikipedia en China con su nueva enciclopedia 'on line'". El Mundo (in Spanish). EFE. 12 May 2006. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  13. ^ Webster, Graham (22 April 2008). "Baidu's William Chang: 'No reason for China to use Wikipedia'". CNET News. Archived from the original on 5 October 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  14. ^ "《互动百科诉百度"垄断"》". 孙超逸. 网易. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011. (Chinese)
  15. ^ "历史版本对比功能将面向百科专业编辑用户开放_百科TA说". wapbaike.baidu.com. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  16. ^ Le, Kelly (24 April 2024). "Baidu closes Wikipedia-like app as focus shifts to generative AI service Ernie Bot". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  17. ^ "百度百科帮助". www.baidu.com.
  18. ^ "百度百科帮助". www.baidu.com.
  19. ^ Eva Woo (13 November 2007). "Baidu's Censored Answer to Wikipedia". Business Week. Archived from the original on 18 March 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  20. ^ Wang Kaihao (5 December 2017). "Govt, Baidu to jointly create 2,000 online museums". China Daily. Archived from the original on 13 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  21. ^ Wang Kaihao (8 February 2018). "Spanish pilgrimage route soon in Baidu encyclopedia". China Daily. Archived from the original on 13 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Baidu creará recorridos virtuales del Museo del Prado y el Camino de Santiago". eldiario.es (in Spanish). EFE. 6 February 2018. Archived from the original on 13 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Woo, Eva (13 November 2007). "Baidu's Censored Answer to Wikipedia". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 23 August 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  24. ^ a b c d Nystedt, Dan (26 August 2008). "Baidu May Be Worst Wikipedia Copyright Violator". PC World. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  25. ^ a b Retrieved October 27, 2021
  26. ^ a b c Jason Q. Ng, August 28, 2013, Who’s the Boss? The difficulties of identifying censorship in an environment with distributed oversight: a large-scale comparison of Wikipedia China with Hudong and Baidu Baike Archived 10 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  27. ^ a b Han-Teng Liao, (2013). How do Baidu Baike and Chinese Wikipedia filter contribution?: a case study of network gatekeeping. Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Open Collaboration. doi:10.1145/2491055.2491082
  28. ^ Cimpanu, Catalin. "China's cybersecurity law update lets state agencies 'pen-test' local companies". ZDNet. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  29. ^ "China's New Cybersecurity Law Brings Crackdown". Jones Day. October 2017. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  30. ^ Dorfman, Zach (23 December 2020). "Tech Giants Are Giving China a Vital Edge in Espionage". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  31. ^ "维基百科基金会:百度使用内容不注出处侵犯版权". 搜狐IT. 7 August 2007. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  32. ^ "開放知識定義 1.0 版". Open Knowledge Foundation. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  33. ^ "Definition of Free Cultural Works". Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  34. ^ "The Open Source Definition". 7 July 2006. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  35. ^ "自由軟體的定義". 自由軟體基金會. Archived from the original on 3 December 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  36. ^ "Hoax dictionary entries about legendary obscene beasts". 11 February 2009. Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2015.

External links[edit]