Baidu.com, Inc.: Valuation at IPO
Since its official launch in January 2000, Baidu.com, Inc. (Baidu) quickly grew to become the leading Internet search engine in China. After three rounds of private funding, Baidu registered to go public on the NASDAQ Stock Market (Ticker Symbol: BIDU) on August 5, 2005. This case can be used for at least three types of courses: business valuation, entrepreneurship in emerging markets, or doing business in China. When used for a business valuation or corporate finance course, the case highlights issues involved in the valuation of early-stage companies in emerging growth industries and economies. When used for an entrepreneurship course, the case highlights the opportunities and challenges of starting and growing ventures in emerging markets; it also illustrates how a start-up company can take an existing entrepreneurial idea and proven business model from another country and successfully adapt it to the home market. Three steps in this successful adaptation are: (1) leveraging its local knowledge and expertise, (2) creating a unique competitive advantage for the venture, and (3) creating an entry barrier for its competitors. In a course on doing business in China, the case highlights the strategies for business success in China and the role of culture, government, economy, legal and financial systems, and consumer market in shaping these strategies.