Chinese Internet giant Baidu inked a strategic partnership with leading telecom company China Unicom on Wednesday with the aim of applying artificial intelligence (AI) and other leading technologies to future products and services.
The two companies will leverage their expertise and advantages in online and offline services to cooperate on projects in mobile Internet, AI, big data and telecom services.
Baidu will help China Unicom put the services of more than 10,000 brick-and-mortar outlets and 300,000 franchised stores online. China Unicom will offer Baidu stronger telecom infrastructure support such as Internet data centers and information and communication technology.
Robin Li, Baidu board chairman and CEO, said his company already cooperates closely in linking mobile search, mapping and group buying services with China Unicom's services, and Baidu is looking forward to impressive results from AI technology.
Wang Xiaochu, board chairman of China Unicom, called the move an important step for cross-sector cooperation between Internet companies and telecom firms in line with the government's "Internet Plus" proposal to upgrade traditional sectors with IT technology.
The latest quarterly financial statements showed that Baidu had steady profit growth in the third quarter while China Unicom suffered a heavy drop in profit growth year on year in the first three quarters, which put more pressure on the company to upgrade its products and services.