Baidu finds strength in AI and autonomous vehicles but must not follow China’s lack of focus in ESG, says GlobalData

Following Baidu’s Q3 2021 earnings announcement;

Emilio Campa, Analyst in the Thematic Team at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“Baidu is a strong player in both artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous vehicles themes – scoring five and five, respectively, in GlobalData’s automotive thematic scorecard. Further, these themes are integral to Beijing’s global strategy, which gives Baidu an additional advantage, and effectively maximises on its already strong position.

“Baidu ranks only second to Tesla in GlobalData’s automotive thematic scorecard, in which 75 companies are scored against the ten biggest ‘themes’ impacting the sector. The company scored five out of five in half of these themes, including ‘autonomous vehicles’, ‘China impact’, ‘generation hashtag’, ‘transport as a service’, and ‘AI’.

“Baidu sees the lowest scores in environmental, social and governance (ESG), and its lack of focus on this area will harm it in the long run. Similarly to its strengths, the company’s lack of ESG focus parallels China’s lack of focus on environmental impact. However, with companies facing greater global scrutiny over their environmental impact, and investors putting more emphasis on ESG, Baidu should ensure it becomes a regional leader to maintain its already strong position against competitors such as BYD and CATL.”

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