- Twitter/Fergus Ryan
- Baidu CEO Robin Li was doused in water by a protester while he was giving a speech about AI at a conference in Beijing, China.
- Li reacted calmly to the bizarre incident, simply asking: “What’s your problem?”
- The motives and identity of the protester are unknown.
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Chinese tech billionaire Robin Li was doused in water during a bizarre incident at an AI conference in Beijing, China, on Wednesday.
According to a video circulating on Twitter, Li was delivering a presentation when he was interrupted by a man in a black shirt who pours the contents of a bottle of water on his head.
Here’s the incident in full:
Some guy just stormed the stage at Baidu's AI conference & poured water all over Robin Li's head. pic.twitter.com/JKTTLjjJXM
— ????Fergus Ryan (@fryan) July 3, 2019
Li, who is the CEO of Chinese search engine Baidu and has a net worth of $9.6 billion, reacted calmly to the protester, asking: “What’s your problem?”
He then went on to make light of the incident. “As you can see, all kinds of unexpected things may happen on our way forward in AI development,” he said a few moments later, according to CNN.
The protester’s motives and identity are not yet known, and journalist Zheping Huang tweeted that the was escorted from the scene by security.
The whole crowd was quiet for a while. Then Robin said to the attacker “What’s your problem?” before he was taken away by the security guards
— Zheping Huang (@pingroma) July 3, 2019
The company later put out a statement about the incident on social microblogging site Weibo. “Someone ‘threw cold water’ at us at today’s AI conference,” the statement said, and then echoed Li’s quip about “unexpected turns.”
Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, and owns Weibo. The company reported its first loss in 14 years in its first-quarter earnings of this year, and Li said that the company was facing a “grim situation.”