Baidu, the "Google of China," just took a flying leap out of China.
The search giant announced on Friday that it will invest $300 million in a Silicon Vally R&D center. The lab will employ 200 staff and have at the helm a pioneering researcher in artificial intelligence and Google-alum, Andrew Ng.
Ng currently heads Stanford University's artificial-intelligence lab and helped found and lead Google's Deep Learning team, which has built self-teaching search engines that can, say, learn how to recognize cats in YouTube videos.
Internet companies believe the technology could branch out from cat-recognition into applications as diverse as driverless cars, robotics and speech-recognition.
Baidu expressed "delight" at the hiring decision, saying in a statement, "Andrew is the ideal individual to lead our research efforts as we enter an era where AI plays an increasingly pronounced role."