StockMaster analyses news, markets and Baidu’s search engine data to predict how stocks, sectors or markets may change

Baidu logo

Baidu has launched a stock analysis app that uses artificial intelligence to predict how stocks and overall markets would perform. Baidu’s key rivals, including Tencent Holdings, already offer similar products. Chinese Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are vying to be the front-runner in the financial services innovation in China.

Baidu targeting retail investors

StockMaster won’t immediately generate revenue for the Chinese search engine giant. But the company could turn it into an equities trading terminal if the government awards it a brokerage license in the future, reports Paul Carsten of Reuters.  Baidu said Tuesday that StockMaster gives small investors access to powerful big data that would help them analyze stocks listed in China, Hong Kong, and the United States.

Using artificial intelligence, StockMaster analyses news, markets and Baidu’s search engine data. The app will simply predict how certain sectors, stocks or markets may change, instead of recommending stocks. The Beijing-based company is targeting retail investors that are usually ignored by large, state-backed financial institutions.

Last month, Alibaba and Tencent were among the eight firms granted private banking licenses. As Baidu restructures its existing business to improve efficiency, the company is showing off its artificial intelligence and big data capabilities. Retail investors have renewed their interest in stocks after the Shanghai Composite Index rallied more than 50% in 2014. Investors had turned away from stocks after Chinese indexes crashed abruptly following a strong rally in 2009.

Baidu expected to report 48% revenue growth in Q4

Baidu is scheduled to release its fiscal fourth-quarter results on Wednesday, February 11 after the markets close. Analysts expect the company to report double-digit growth in revenue and earnings, driven by mobile monetization. Wall Street expects Baidu to report $2.26 billion in revenue, up 48% YoY. Earnings are expected to rise 26% YoY to $1.59 per share.

Baidu still has plenty of room for growth. China has more than 649 million active Internet users. But Internet penetration in the country is relatively low at 48% of the population.