Chinese web giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) today launched a new personal investment fund that lets users crowd-invest in upcoming movies and television shows. Baifa Youxi (百发有戏; translates to “Baifa Me”) promises the same eight percent interest rate as the original Baifa fund, with returns reaching as high as 16 percent, according to Techweb.
Alibaba will be the third-biggest internet company in the world by market cap if analysts’ estimates hold up. It will surpass both US ecommerce giant Amazon and Chinese rival Tencent. Chinese companies take up four of the top 10 spots and make up three of the top six. Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) sits at number six, while JD (NASDAQ:JD) rounds out the top 10. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) leads by a long shot with nearly twice the market cap as runner up Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).
Zhang Yaqin, the man who helped build Microsoft’s biggest technology research operation outside of the United States, is leaving the software giant to join Chinese online search powerhouse Baidu. Sources close to Baidu said Zhang would be named president for new business and become an integral part of the company’s senior management. He would report directly to Robin Li Yanhong, the co-founder, chairman and chief executive of Baidu.
The Chinese government already has direct access to the online activity of the country’s netizens, and that access is about to get even more pervasive through a new wearable technology from China’s top search engine. The newly-launched BaiduEye prototype was unveiled yesterday at the Baidu World 2014 conference. BaiduEye does not need a screen and users can give commands to BaiduEye by gestures like circling an item in the air with a finger or picking up the item to realize recognition and analysis of the item.
Chinese search giant Baidu has invested US$10M in IndoorAtlas , a Finnish startup that develops smartphone technology to track real-time movement indoors. The company will use the funds to improve its research and development, and it will also enter an exclusive agreement with Baidu that will bring its mapping technology to the Chinese market.
China’s largest tech corporations are rushing to penetrate an industry that’s historically not tech-savvy – brick-and-mortar retail. Dalian Wanda Group, a conglomerate best known for its chain of movie theaters , has launched a US$814 joint ecommerce venture with Baidu and Tencent for the purpose of accelerating the three firms’ reach for in-store mobile payments. Tencent and Baidu have confirmed news of the venture with Tech in Asia.
The United Nations Development Programme and Baidu reached a strategic deal to build a big data lab together. This lab aims to research and use big data technology to solve global issues like environmental protection, health, education, and disaster relief. This lab will focus on using Baidu’s big data technology to analyze and process industrial data and make trend prediction to provide suggestions for development strategy formulation at the United Nations.
Chinese search engine Baidu and the United Nations Development Program are hoping to streamline the recycling of e-waste in China with a new app that can help users easily sell their old electronics for cash. The Web-based app called “Baidu Recycle Station” launched Monday as part a new joint lab established by the Chinese company and the U.N. group. The lab will use Baidu’s Internet services and data analytics to develop programs targeted at helping the environment, health care, education and more. Baidu has already been working to analyze data from the Internet for applications as various as forecasting flu outbreaks and predicting the outcome of the World Cup.
Deep learning has been a hot topic in recent times, particularly after Google brought it to the forefront of the tech industry with Google Brain that started in 2011. Early this year, the internet giant went further to step up its efforts in deep learning with its acquisition of artificial intelligence startup DeepMind, scooping up its talented team. There is, however, another serious contender in the deep learning space that most people in the US may not have heard of — and that’s Baidu, commonly known as ‘China’s Google.’
Chinese search engine company Baidu announced in Tianjin that the company’s developer start-up center in the city has been formally established. This is Baidu’s newest regional start-up center following those already operational in Chengdu and Xiamen. This new Tianjin Baidu developer start-up center is located in Hongqiao district. With an office area of over 3,000 square meters, it can accommodate more than 20 start-up teams.
Two months after Google unveiled its driverless and steering wheel-less car prototype, it turns out that Chinese search engine giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) is working on the same tech as well. A Baidu representative confirmed to Tech in Asia this afternoon that it’s working on a self-driving car, but stated that the program is “at a very early stage.” This came in response to rumors on Chinese tech blogs earlier today. The Baidu driverless car project is being driven by its “deep learning” labs. No other details are available at this time. Baidu has R&D labs in this specialist arena in both China and Silicon Valley.
Chinese search giant Baidu reported a 34 percent jump in profit for the second quarter, with mobile ad sales accounting for almost a third of revenue for the first time. Baidu’s profit reached 3.5 billion yuan (US$571 million) for the quarter, while revenue soared 59 percent to 12 billion yuan, at the upper end of its forecast. Mobile made up 30 percent of revenue, which was a first for the company, CEO Robin Li said in a statement. A day earlier, Facebook said it more than doubled its profit in the second quarter, with mobile a big factor.
Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), China’s top search engine, released its Q2 earnings report overnight. The financials were dull (see here; PDF), but the conference call with Baidu execs yielded some interesting user numbers and a few new milestones. With a strong focus on mobile – now that China’s mobile internet users outnumber its PC web users – Baidu CEO Robin Li hailed the fact that the company’s “mobile revenue, which is largely comprised of mobile search revenue, accounts for 30 percent of our total revenue.”
App distribution in most countries remains pretty straightforward: the App Store for iOS, and Google Play for Android. In China, however, where users face difficulty accessing Google services due to government-imposed restrictions, app distribution is a circus, with tons of third-party stores competing for market share. But with big and small tech firms fighting to become the biggest and baddest app broker, one firm sits at the top: Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU).
China’s leading search engine, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), is not getting any Thai hospitality right now. A number of Thai netizens are not happy that certain computer stores have pre-installed Baidu’s Antivirus software onto their Windows machines, which are later sold to customers. The program, in turn, installs the Hao123 toolbar – created by Baidu – onto the web browser.
Search giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) recently removed links to over 800 Chinese peer-to-peer lending websites from its search results, according to China’s New Business Daily (hat-tip to TechNode). The new blacklist comes after a string fraudulent sites went dark and high-tailed it with lenders’ money, including one just last week. Over 100 such sites have absconded or went bust in recent years, with an estimated US$110 million lost in under half a year.
Baidu today officially rebranded its financial services branch (hat-tip to Techweb) changing the name from “Baidu Licai” to “Baidu Jinrong” (both of these can be translated to “Baidu Finance”). The name change comes with a slew of upgrades for the search giant’s financial platform, including a new personal loan service. Users can borrow up to ten times their monthly income and pay it back over a maximum of three years.
Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), the Chinese tech giant best known for its search engine, announced yesterday it will roll out a new mobile wallet app called Baidu Wallet (baidu qianbao), reports Jinghua.cn (via Techweb). Like its main rivals from Alibaba (Alipay) and Tencent (Tenpay and WeChat Payments), Baidu Wallet serves as a Swiss army knife for the average Chinese consumer’s finance needs.
China’s internet sector recorded its busiest period for mergers and acquisitions last year as cash-rich online giants Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu led the way with a spate of major transactions. It could be a busier period this year, except for online search kingpin Baidu’s apparent decision to slow down the pace rather than join its peers in a pell-mell rush to strike deals.
As we enter 2014, Baidu (BIDU) continues to own the largest share of China’s search engine market. The company is growing mobile revenue and seeing strength in its growing business. Yet, the competition in China is becoming more and more fierce, as Qihoo 360 (QIHU) and Sogou have cut Baidu’s lead from 78.6% to 63%. Yet, the market is shifting rapidly to mobile, and Baidu has shown both great vision and concentration in this new battleground. Moving into 2014, we see a lot more upside in shares to hit at least $210, if not higher, pushing above our 2013 target of $180.