Baidu Boosted by “Ernie Bot” News

Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) shares surged after the company said it would launch its own artificial intelligence chatbot that will be called “Ernie Bot” in English.

The company has confirmed an earlier report that it will complete internal testing and launch its ChatGPT-like bot in March, joining a global race as interest in generative artificial intelligence gathers steam. The news sent Baidu's Hong Kong-listed shares up nearly 15% on Tuesday.

The platform will be named "Wenxin Yiyan" or "Ernie Bot," which stands for "Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration." Baidu aims to make the service available as a standalone application and gradually merge it into its search engine by incorporating chatbot-generated results when users make search requests.

In a presentation earlier this year, Baidu’s Chief Technology Officer Haifeng Wang emphasized the importance of deep learning as the core of AI applications and that it’s showing “increasingly strong potential.”

ChatGPT has shown itself capable of writing essays, composing songs, and programming video games following basic verbal prompts from users. Ernie Bot is expected to have similar capabilities.

Baidu also announced will report its financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2022, before the U.S. market opens on February 22.

Baidu's management will hold an earnings conference call at 7:30 AM on February 22, U.S. Eastern Time

BIDU shares rocketed $14.58, or 10.2%, to $157.40.