top of page

Baidu's Smart Device Unit CEO Steps Down to Launch New Venture

Updated: Jan 8

In a surprising move, Jing Kun, the CEO of Xiaodu Technology, the smart device subsidiary of Chinese AI giant Baidu, has resigned from all his positions within the unit.

World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) 2023 in Shanghai.
Credits: Xinhua

According to an internal notice from the company, Jing Kun cited "personal reasons" for his departure.

Reports suggest that he has teamed up with Zhu Kaihua, the chief technology officer, to embark on a new entrepreneurial venture.

Following Jing Kun's resignation, Baidu's vice-president and chief information officer, Li Ying, will assume the role of CEO at Xiaodu Technology with immediate effect. Li Ying will report directly to Baidu's co-founder, chairman and CEO, Robin Li. This leadership transition was confirmed in an internal notice seen by the South China Morning Post.

Jing Kun's departure comes just days before Baidu World 2023, the company's highly anticipated annual technology event. At the event, Baidu was expected to provide updates on its ChatGPT-like service, Ernie Bot and other new AI-based applications. Jing Kun, who was designated as one of the keynote speakers alongside Robin Li and other senior executives, was scheduled to present on the topic of smart living "in the era of foundation model."

Jing Kun joined Baidu in 2014, focusing on the research and development of interactive online search models based on dialogue and images. Over the years, he climbed the ranks within the company, eventually becoming the SLG general manager in charge of smart device development. In May 2019, he was promoted to Baidu vice-president. He was then appointed to lead Xiaodu Technology, which aimed to accelerate Baidu's smart device business, including smart speakers and displays, supported by the company's in-house-developed operating system.

Xiaodu Technology has successfully completed three fundraising rounds since its establishment in 2020, with Baidu remaining its majority shareholder. In January, the company raised an undisclosed amount in a Series B-plus funding round, valuing it at 35.5 billion yuan (US$4.87 billion). This marked an increase from its previous valuation of 33 billion yuan following its Series B financing in August 2021. When Xiaodu Technology was incorporated, it had a valuation of 20 billion yuan.

During the first quarter, Xiaodu Technology secured the top spot in shipments of smart displays and smart speakers in China, according to data from research firms IDC and Canalys. While Baidu has not disclosed the exact revenues of Xiaodu, estimates suggest that its annual sales last year reached approximately 5 billion yuan.

  • Jing Kun, CEO of Baidu's smart device subsidiary, Xiaodu Technology, has resigned for "personal reasons" and is starting his own venture.

  • Baidu's vice-president and chief information officer, Li Ying, will take over as CEO of Xiaodu Technology.

  • Jing Kun's departure comes just before Baidu World 2023, where updates on Ernie Bot and other AI-based applications were expected.

Credits: SCMP

As technology advances and has a greater impact on our lives than ever before, being informed is the only way to keep up.  Through our product reviews and news articles, we want to be able to aid our readers in doing so. All of our reviews are carefully written, offer unique insights and critiques, and provide trustworthy recommendations. Our news stories are sourced from trustworthy sources, fact-checked by our team, and presented with the help of AI to make them easier to comprehend for our readers. If you notice any errors in our product reviews or news stories, please email us at  Your input will be important in ensuring that our articles are accurate for all of our readers.

bottom of page