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50 People Who Matter 2011 | 44. Robin Li

Baidu behemoth.

This Chinese entrepreneur and computer scientist is the chief executive of China's most popular search engine. Robin Li, 42, founded Baidu in 2000 and it has since become the third-largest independent search engine in the world, as well as the first Chinese company to feature on the Nasdaq-100 Index. Li learned his trade in the US, at Dow Jones & Co, for which he developed software to power the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. Throughout the late 1990s, he continued to pioneer software, working as a staff engineer at the early search engine company Infoseek. In developing Baidu, Li has been accused of aiding the Chinese government's programme of censorship, as the site adheres to a long list of blocked websites and censored topics, such as the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

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This article first appeared in the 26 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, The fifty people who matter