Chinese Internet giant Baidu reported stable revenue growth in 2016, helped in part by artificial intelligence (AI) upgrades to its various products.
The largest Chinese search engine raked in about 70.5 billion yuan (10.2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016, up 11.9 percent year on year, according to a financial statement released Friday.
Baidu continued to see stable user growth for its search and map services, with its mobile payment business Baidu Wallet attracting 100 million users by the end of 2016, surging 88 percent compared with 2015.
The company's gross merchandise value for transaction services totalled 18.1 billion yuan last year, up 23 percent year on year.
The company's products, including search and newsfeed, have been upgraded by AI technology, according to Baidu board chairman and CEO Robin Li, who said AI will be an enormous opportunity to revolutionize the Internet and traditional sectors.
The AI pioneer is accelerating its pace in developing and investing in AI technologies, including investment in U.S. virtual reality firm 8i and the acquisition of Chinese smart home startup Raven Tech. It will also lead the development of a national engineering lab focused on research and application of deep learning-related technologies.
Baidu will continue to focus on improving user experience, particularly through investment in AI-enabled initiatives such as autonomous driving, financial services, and cloud-computing, according to Baidu chief financial officer Jennifer Li.
Baidu expects its revenue in the first quarter of 2017 to be between 16.5 and 17 billion yuan, up by 4.2 to 7.6 percent year on year.