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Baidu sets up new medical subsidiary amid coronavirus crisis

The company is among the many Chinese tech companies leveraging their capabilities to fight the coronavirus.

China’s largest search engine, Baidu, launched a subsidiary called Baidu Health on March 12, online news portal Sina.com reported, citing corporate registration information detected by intelligence provider Tianyancha.

Baidu Health, with a registered capital of RMB 30 million, has a business scope of software, cosmetics, sanitizing materials, medical gear and more.

Baidu declined to comment when contacted by KrASIA on Monday.

Baidu is one of many Chinese tech giants leveraging its capabilities to help the country contain the coronavirus outbreak. With its telecommunication technologies, Huawei has powered a remote diagnosis platform in a new makeshift hospital in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.  JD.com has used its Level-4 autonomous driving vehicles to deliver medical stuff to a hospital in Wuhan.

After the outbreak, Baidu launched a free medical consultation platform on its Baidu App to provide online access to doctors and answer pneumonia-related questions.

By leveraging Baidu’s open-source deep learning platform PaddlePaddle and Baidu’s semantic segmentation toolkit PaddleSeg, one Beijing-based data analysis company, LinkingMed, developed an AI-powered pneumonia screening and lesion detection system. This system, which has been put into use in a hospital in Hunan province, can pinpoint the disease in less than one minute, with a detection accuracy of 92%.

Before establishing this subsidiary, Baidu applied to the authorities to include selling medical instruments into its business scope, and the company sought to donate eye scanning machines to 500 impoverished counties across China, KrASIA reported in February 2019.