Big Data Reveals the Real Picture of China’s Economy, but Can It Survive?

Giants such as Baidu and Alibaba create their own economic gauges.

Wu Haishan was at Princeton studying how schools of fish swim together when the crowd behavior of a much bigger group grabbed his attention: his 1.35 billion fellow Chinese.

It was Lunar New Year back home in 2014, and Baidu, operator of the country’s biggest search engine, had created an animation showing all the trips the Chinese had made during the holiday, which demographers say is the largest annual human migration anywhere. Wu, who’d seen the animation, soon joined Baidu as a data scientist in Beijing. With the company’s vast amounts of user location information, he’s come up with ingenious ways to measure economic activity.

Bloomberg News

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