Shares in Chinese search giant Baidu surged the day after it opened. ERNI Botit’s a response to the ChatGPT craze.
Its shares rose 14.3% on Friday in Hong Kong, making it the biggest winner in the Hang Seng index.
(HSI). They also rose 3.8% in New York during US trading on Thursday.
The day before Baidu
(BIDU) was the biggest loser of the same index. Its shares in Hong Kong fell 6.4% after a public demonstration of its bot failed to impress investors. Since February, more than 650 companies have joined the ERNIE ecosystem, CEO Robin Li said during the presentation.
The cancellation comes after the company said more than 30,000 businesses signed up to test its chatbot service within two hours of its demo.
“The high degree of interest from enterprises is positive, and we expect Baidu to continue to meet the demand of Chinese enterprises for generative AI,” Esme Pau, Macquarie’s head of Chinese and Hong Kong Internet and digital assets, told CNN.
She said the company’s stock rebounded on Friday as some users, including analysts, shared positive feedback about their own experiences with ERNIE, suggesting the bot has more advanced capabilities.
During the presentation, Baidu showed how its chatbot can generate a company newsletter, come up with a corporate slogan, and solve a math puzzle.
But its shares fell on Thursday because the demo was “pre-recorded and not live, leaving investors skeptical about the reliability of the ERNIE bot,” according to Pau.
The Baidu demo also came just days after the launch of GPT-4, which “raised the bar for ERNIE,” she added.
GPT-4 is the latest version of the AI technology used in ChatGPT. The service wowed users this week with its ability to simplify coding, quickly create a website from a simple sketch, and pass exams with high marks.
Pau noted that Baidu’s shares were already “slightly down” ahead of Thursday’s software showcase, highlighting pressure from investors who raised expectations after the GPT-4 launch.
“ERNI also doesn’t have [same] multilingual capability like GPT-4 and not yet improved for English queries,” she said. “In addition, the ERNIE launch did not provide sufficient quantitative indicators compared to the GPT-4 launch earlier this week.”
Like ChatGPT, ERNIE based a language model that is trained on vast amounts of data on the Internet to generate compelling responses to user queries.
Li said Baidu’s expectations for ERNIE were “close to ChatGPT or even GPT-4.”
But he acknowledged that the software “isn’t perfect yet,” adding that it was first launched for corporate users. The service is not yet available to the general public.
Baidu announced its chatbot last month. Some critics say the service will add fuel to the ongoing rivalry between the US and China over new technologies.
Li tried to shake off that comparison at the time of launch, stating that the bot “is not a tool of confrontation between China and the United States in science and technology, but is the product of generations of Baidu technicians pursuing the dream of changing the world through technology.” “.
“This is a completely new platform for us to serve hundreds of millions of users and empower thousands of industries,” he said.
Baidu says its service stands out for its advanced understanding of Chinese queries, as well as its ability to generate different types of responses.
“ERNIE Bot can create text, images, audio and video from a text prompt, and is even capable of voice transmission in several local dialects such as Sichuanese,” the company said in a statement.
By comparison, GPT-4 can also parse photos, but currently only generates text responses. in accordance with its developer, OpenAI.
Baidu is not the only Chinese firm working on such technology. Last month, Alibaba
(WOMAN) announced plans to launch its own ChatGPT-style tool, adding to the roster of tech giants to join the popular chatbot.
For now, Baidu has a first-mover advantage in China, according to analysts.
“We believe ERNIE is three to six months ahead of its potential competitors,” Pau said.
On Friday, Baidu also announced a milestone in its transportation business, saying it is the first operator in Beijing to be allowed to provide driverless car hailing services in the city.
Companies are not allowed to charge passengers in the capital for a new service yet. Previously, the driver was required to be in the front passenger seat to take control in the event of emergencies.
Baidu provides commercial driverless taxi services in the cities of Chongqing and Wuhan.
– Mengchen Zhang of CNN contributed to this report.