Chief of Chinese search giant Baidu warns that 'Winter is coming' - CNET

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BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 01: Robin Li, Chairman and CEO of Baidu, shows Baidu's latest AI technology during the 2018 Baidu World Conference at China World Hotel on November 1, 2018 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)VCG

The new year's pep talk delivered by Baidu's chief executive for 2019 was a bit chilly. 

Robin Yanhong Li, CEO of China's largest search engine, warned that "Winter is coming" in a letter to employees regarding China's economy growth slowing down and restructuring, according to South China Morning Post. Baidu is the equivalent of Google in China.

Economic restructuring is "as cold and real as winter to every company," Li reportedly wrote on Wednesday to staff. But "historical transformation of [artificial intelligence] is penetrating various various industries, unleashing enormous growth potential and room for upgrade."

Li also reportedly told employees through a famous Chinese proverb, "only when the year grows cold do we see the qualities of the pine and the cypress," that Baidu will step up its game and come out stronger while other companies are struggling to cope with the changing economic landscape in China.

Baidu didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The "winter" talk isn't new in China. The world's second largest economy is slowing down faster than expected, according to Wall Street Journal's report in October. The report said China's exports, economic performance and effects from the US-China trade war were all factors that contributed to Chinese market's foreseeable "winter."

"It's high time that Baidu stepped forward," Li reportedly said. 

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