Baidu Shares Jump 14% as Users Test ChatGPT-Like Ernie Bot


Hong Kong-listed shares in Baidu were up almost 14% on Friday as users shared their experiences of using Ernie bot — the Chinese AI firm’s answer to ChatGPT.

Baidu’s shares were recovering from a 10% tumble on Thursday, when investors were left disappointed with the “scripted” and private launch of the AI-powered chatbot.

However, after trialling Ernie on Friday, users livestreamed tests of the Chinese chatbot with many posting favourably about its capabilities. Some also did a side-by-side comparison with US chatbots such as Microsoft’s Bing chatbot, which is powered by ChatGPT technology.


Also on AF: China Wants To ‘Integrate’ ChatGPT-Like Tech in its Economy


One user described on the Weibo social media platform how Ernie had answered a question about the status of Hong Kong philosopher Zhang Jinqing accurately.

“The response was O.K.”, the user said.

“There is a definite gap between Ernie bot and Bing, but it is not insanely big. In certain questions (Ernie) even performed better than Bing,” according to a Weibo post by tech blogger Chapingjun, who has more than 2.4 million followers.


Strongest Chinese rival to ChatGPT

Analysts said the initial disappointment the market felt from the launch was tempered by the realisation that the Chinese search engine giant was still best placed to build China’s strongest rival to ChatGPT.

“The market’s demand for the industrial application of general large-scale models is rapidly stimulated, and (Baidu) is expected to rely on historical accumulation and first-mover advantages to quickly acquire users and data,” CITIC Securities said in a research note on Friday.

Baidu’s bot is based off its AI-driven deep learning model, Ernie – short for “Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration”.

More than 75,000 corporate users have now applied for a trial of an Ernie API developed by Baidu Cloud, the Chinese company said in a video published on its official WeChat account on Friday.

Baidu is seen as a leader in the race in China among tech giants and startups to develop a competitor to Microsoft’s viral ChatGPT.

The tech giant has touted its many years of heavy R&D investment in artificial intelligence and deep learning and said it plans to use Ernie Bot to revolutionise its search engine as well as use it to increase efficiency in cloud, smart cars and household appliances.


Launch disappointment

On Thursday, viewers of Ernie Bot’s launch presentation panned Baidu’s lack of a live demonstration and the public launch, which compared unfavourably to the capabilities and free-to-use launch of US research lab OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November.

Baidu limited the launch presentation to brief videos that showed Ernie carrying out mathematical calculations, speaking in Chinese dialects and generating a video and image with text prompts.

During the presentation Baidu CEO Robin Li admitted that Ernie Bot was not perfect. “So why are we unveiling it today? Because the market demands it,” he said.


Baidu’s co-founder and CEO Robin Li showcases Ernie Bot during a news conference at the company’s headquarters in Beijing, China. Photo: Reuters


Li also nodded to GPT-4, released earlier this week, saying it surprised him with its ability to summarise information. But he cautioned against seeing the chatbots through the lens of geopolitics.

“Ernie Bot is not a tool of confrontation between China and the United States,” he said.

The presentation, just over an hour-long, came two days after Google unveiled a flurry of AI tools for its email, collaboration and cloud software.

Baidu’s shares tumbled while Li spoke and eventually closed 6.4% lower, shaving over $3 billion off the firm’s market valuation.

“It seems like the presentation was more of a monologue and scripted rather than an interactive session that people were looking for. There was no soft launch date either which likely led to negative sentiments,” said Kai Wang, an analyst from Morningstar.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena


Also read:

Baidu Says Ernie Bot Will ‘Revolutionise’ its Search Engine

China’s Tencent Assembles Team To Create ChatGPT Rival

Chip, AI Executives Replace Pony Ma, Jack Ma at Key China Meet

China Tech Fighting Over AI Talent in ChatGPT Chase – SCMP

China Clamps Down on Big Tech Offering ChatGPT – Nikkei


Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has been working as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As an eager stock market trader and investor, she is keenly interested in economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can tweet to her @saxenavishakha

Recent Posts

China’s Shenzhou-16 Rocket Takes Astronauts up to Space Station

The astronauts will replace the three-member crew of the Shenzhou-15, who arrived at the space…

2 hours ago

Singapore Ousts Hong Kong as APAC’s Costliest City for a Home

A heavy influx of immigrants and a trend among young professionals to move out of…

3 hours ago

Elon Musk Reaches China, Meets Foreign Minister Qin Gang

The trip is Musk's first to China since he made headlines in early 2020 by…

5 hours ago

Japan Plans to Beam Solar Power From Space by 2025 – engadget

The country made a breakthrough in space-based solar energy back in 2015 and now says…

5 hours ago

India May Cut Import Tax on Solar Panels Amid Domestic Shortage

Government sources said the import tax may be halved, and GST cut, because local producers…

6 hours ago

China Strains, AI Top of The Agenda at US, EU Summit Talks

A 24-page draft joint statement focuses on AI algorithm standards, export controls and China’s non-market practices and disinformation

6 hours ago