BEIJING, July 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Baidu App, the flagship mobile platform of Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), today kicked off the official naming selection process for China's first Mars rover, which was launched into space yesterday from Wenchang, Hainan province, as part of the Tianwen-1 Mars exploration mission. As the exclusive partner for the rover's naming campaign, Baidu App will leverage its expansive user base to allow netizens to contribute to the selection of the rover's name and view interactive content about the mission.

Baidu has the largest information and knowledge-centered mobile ecosystem in China, said Foyu Yuan, Corporate Vice President of Baidu, which will allow Baidu to attract netizens at home and abroad to participate in the naming of China's first Mars rover. She added that Baidu will use this campaign to tell stories about space exploration from multiple angles.

Baidu App is hosting the naming selection process for the rover on a designated Smart Mini Program. The campaign was launched today at a press conference held in Wenchang with the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), and was attended by the center's deputy director Tongjie Liu. Including a lander, rover, and orbiter, Tianwen-1 is China's first solo exploration mission to Mars and represents a historic moment both for China's space program and humanity's understanding of Mars. Tianwen means "Questions to Heaven" and comes from a poem by Yuan Qu, one of the greatest poets of ancient China who lived from around 340 to 278 BCE.

In the first stage of the naming campaign, users are invited to submit their ideas before the deadline on August 12. Users can search "Mars rover" or "Mars rover naming selection" on Baidu App to enter the submission page. Industry experts and the public will then narrow down the top ideas. With 500 million monthly active users (MAUs), Baidu App's Smart Mini Programs are a core pillar of the company's mobile strategy, as they connect users to a wide range of information and services through native app-like experiences.

In a video to mark the start of the naming campaign, astronauts Zhigang Zhai, Yang Liu, and Yaping Wang paid tribute to China's first mission to Mars. In addition, notable figures including Chinese martial artist Jackie Chan, Chinese pianist Lang Lang, and Baidu's Executive Vice President Dou Shen all provided name ideas for the Mars rover. Xiaodu, Baidu's conversational AI assistant, even submitted an AI-generated idea, "Zhuque" (Vermillion Bird), a Chinese mythical bird.

In addition to serving as the exclusive partner for the naming process of the Mars rover, Baidu App will offer a range of interactive content and activities about the Tianwen-1 mission to promote scientific knowledge about space exploration. For example, users can search "Mars rover" and view a 3D structure of the vehicle. Baidu App will also host an "AI Mars office" and "Mars post office" so users can virtually experience the environment on Mars. These efforts aim to encourage more netizens to learn about the historic Mars mission. According to Baidu search data, requests for information about the Tianwen-1 mission increased 1,560% within the hour of its successful launch.

The new partnership builds on existing cooperation between Baidu App and CNSA's Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center. Recently, Baidu App worked with the Mars mission to host a livestream program where scientists shared authoritative knowledge about outer space. Leveraging its AI expertise, strengths as a knowledge platform, and more than 230 million daily active users (DAUs), Baidu App is proud to be an exclusive partner of China's first Mars mission to inform netizens about this historic moment in China's space exploration.

About Baidu

Baidu, Inc. is a leading search engine, knowledge and information centered Internet platform and AI company. The Company's mission is to make the complicated world simpler through technology. Baidu's ADSs trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "BIDU". Currently, ten ADSs represent one Class A ordinary share.


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