Ya-Qin Zhang

P’20BUS, P’22; Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Science, Dean and Chair Professor, Tsinghua University, and Former President of Baidu Inc. and Microsoft Executive

Dr. Ya-Qin Zhang is a world-renowned scientist and business executive. He retired from Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) as the president of the company in October 2019 after five years with the company. While head at Baidu, the technology giant that provides services ranfing from mobile internet to cloud computing to more than 2 billion people across the globe, Zhang oversaw the Intelligent Driving, Cloud Computing, Emerging Business, and Technology divisions.

In July 2020, Zhang will join Tsinghua University as Chair Professor of AI Science to launch the institute for AI Industry Research (AIR), focused on technologies for the fourth industrial revolution, including autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things, and neuromorphic computing.

Prior to joining Baidu, Dr. Zhang was previously a key executive of Microsoft Corporation for 16 years, including Corporate Vice President for mobile and embedded Products in Redmond, Washington, Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), and Chairman of Microsoft China. He was the Director of Multimedia Laboratory of Sarnoff Corp in Princeton New Jersey, and a Senior Member of Technical Staff at GTE Labs in Waltham, Mass from 1990 to 1999.

Dr. Ya-Qin Zhang has made significant contributions to the software and Internet technology and industry through his 550 publications, 62 US patents, and various landmark engineering achievements. His seminal research in digital video and communications has profoundly advanced the algorithms and theory in the field, and has been extensively used in global standards and products. He has been a leader on autonomous driving and cloud computing, serving on the board of stewardship for the future of mobility of the Davos World Economic Forum.

Dr. Zhang received numerous awards for his outstanding contributions. He is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019, and was inducted to Australia National Academy of Engineering (ATSE) as the only foreign fellow in 2017. He became an IEEE Fellow in 1997 at the age of 31, making him the youngest scientist winning this honor in the 100-year history of the organization. He was named one of the top 10 CEOs in Asia, CEO of the year, 50 global shapers, and top ten innovators by IT Times, CNBC, Business Week, and Global business. Dr. Zhang is an active leader in UN programs, World Economic Forum, and various NGOs to help the underprivileged, narrow digital divide, and address the ethics and social impact of technological disruptions.

Dr. Zhang received his B.S. and M.S. from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Doctor of Sciences from George Washington University, and graduated from the executive business program from Harvard University.