Baidu has hired a senior executive from Google's China operation, the most high-profile defection since Google's standoff with the Chinese government began.
The Financial Times reported Friday that Wang Jeng has joined Baidu, the top search engine in China and the company that has the most to gain from Google's decision to stop censoring search results in China. Wang will head up Baidu's research and development team, according to a report from People's Online Daily.
Baidu is essentially the Google of China, dominating the local market for Internet search. Its hold on the market is expected to grow following Google's decision to move its search operations to Hong Kong, which allows it to offer uncensored results but hurts performance.
The Financial Times said Wang's move from Google to Baidu was the first time a senior Google employee in China had followed that path. Analysts and observers have wondered if defections were inevitable following Google's recent moves in China, although the report said few employees have actually taken that step.