The fourth of five children, he grew up during China's Cultural Revolution. Li studied information management at Peking University and the State University of New York, Buffalo. In 2000 he founded Baidu with Eric Xu (徐勇). He has been the CEO of Baidu since January 2004, which was listed in NASDAQ in August 2005.
Robin Li is the initiator of ESP technology, and successfully used it in the Infoseek/Go.com search engine. Another of his important innovative achievements was the picture search of Go.com.
He was listed in the CNN Money annual "50 people who matter now" in 2007.