Headquarters: Beijing, China

Industry sector: Internet

While Baidu is often referred to as the ‘Chinese Google’, it perhaps deserves more credit than that: its RankDex patent for hyperlink analysis – the cornerstone of the company – was developed by founder Robin Li even before Google’s Larry Page had obtained his own PageRank patent. This spirit of innovation continues today: it recently developed new copyright DNA identification technology which can recognise and filter out potentially infringing content from its search results. It has also concluded licensing deals with leading record labels to help prevent illegal music downloads, a development which contributed to its removal from the US official piracy list. TheS$1.9 billion acquisition of local app store 91 Wireless – the biggest deal to date in China’s online space – has given Baidu greater access to the mobile internet sector. This is another strategic move for the search giant, following the release of its own low-cost smartphone.