Date
21 November 2017
Baidu’s robot Xiaodu appears in a reality TV show. The technology giant has invested heavily in artificial intelligence. Photo: techinasia.com
Baidu’s robot Xiaodu appears in a reality TV show. The technology giant has invested heavily in artificial intelligence. Photo: techinasia.com

Investors should not miss the AI boom

China has a great advantage in developing artificial intelligence because it gives technology companies access to a large pool of data from its 1.4 billon population, enabling algorithms to work much faster, according to a recent article published by The Economist.

With a population several times bigger than that of the United States, China naturally generates more data. Better still, Chinese do not seem to be terribly concerned about privacy, making data collection easier.

Chinese internet giants have already delved deep into people’s everyday life.

I can’t help buying Baidu stocks after reading the story since the Chinese search giant has invested heavily in AI research, while its share price still lags behind that of the other two tech giants, Tencent and Alibaba.

It’s too early to tell if Baidu will be the winner in the AI race, but the concept itself should at least support its share price.

I would rather pay too much or end up being wrong rather than miss the opportunity to ride the AI boom.

If things don’t work out, I have a pretty good idea about the downside of Baidu, but if it succeeds, the upside could be huge.

In this digital era, you don’t want to invest in companies that would one day be eliminated by new technology, no matter how cheap they look now.

I don’t care too much about the current valuation of Baidu’s existing business, partly because I have the financial strength to do so.

Thanks to profit made in recent years, I am in a position to take some risk and use some of the gains to test new ideas.

I would absorb the loss with ease even if the bet does not work.

Meanwhile, I’m worried about missing the next big thing. If I don’t get in now and ride the wave, I might be totally left behind.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 18

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/CG

Director, Asset Management at Ample Capital Limited.

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