• China's Baidu CEO Robin Li (L) and Microsoft founder Bill Gates at a press conference in Beijing.

China's Baidu CEO Robin Li (L) and Microsoft founder Bill Gates at a press conference in Beijing. (Photo : Getty Images)

According to a news report published by Tencent Technology, China's leading search engine Baidu Inc. has shut down its 2-year-old mobile healthcare business unit as it focuses on its healthcare services that are enabled by artificial intelligence. This is a part of the company's ongoing strategic restructuring

Like Us on Facebook

Baidu's mobile healthcare unit is established in Jan. 2015. Its main goal is to provide online hospital appointments and online booking services to patients. They also provide online consultation between doctor and patients as well as online booking of pharmacy deliveries.

These services are similar to other mobile healthcare applications as Haoyisheng, Xingren Doctors and GuaHao.com.

"The healthcare industry has enormous potential, but services such as online hospital appointment booking are not very innovative," said Baidu's chairman Robin Li at an industry conference.

He commented that artificial intelligence is the one that can really change healthcare, indicating that this is where Baidu is likely to focus its resources going forward.

Li highlighted in a 2016 speech that smart online consultation, precision medicine, genetic testing and analysis, new drug development, and artificial intelligence technology to the health care sector are the most promising areas in the application of Internet.

A greater focus on higher value-added technology has been recurrent on Li's discussions with his employees and the media. Li reported on an internal speech last year that Baidu would cut off products and services that are unable to compete in the marketplace.

The closure of the mobile healthcare unit may well be one of the strategies on the company's focus on higher value-added technology.

Baidu's paid search advertisements department has suffered a damaging scandal last year, as a student died after receiving treatment at a hospital that he found through its search engine. The mobile healthcare unit is separate from this department.

Baidu is continuing to sell search advertisements in the healthcare industry, which is considered one of its most lucrative sources of revenue.