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Interested in AI investing? Here’s a look at what AI stocks are, how to invest and the top stocks by market cap right now.

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology continues to evolve and advance rapidly, becoming increasingly integrated in the automation of our everyday lives.

AI is also becoming a major focus for the Australian government, whose budget for the 2021/2022 financial year outlines a plan to invest AU$124.1 million into AI development and adoption. Globally, research firm PwC estimates in a 2017 report that AI will provide a boost of 14 percent, or US$15.7 trillion, to gross domestic product by 2030.

Although the AI market is relatively small in Australia, it’s growing, with a number of ASX-listed companies including AI in their business activities. To help investors understand the options available in this burgeoning market, the Investing News Network used TradingView's stock screener to find the top AI stocks on the ASX by market cap.

All numbers and company information were current as of December 24, 2021.

1. Appen

Current market cap: AU$1.32 billion

Appen (ASX:APX) continues to be a market leader in providing data for developing AI products and machine learning. The company has had a tumultuous ride since first listing in 2015; its share price peaked at nearly AU$45 in mid-2020 only to slowly decline since then. A new restructuring looks promising as Appen hones its focus on four key markets: China, enterprise, global and government.

As of August 2021, Appen had shuffled its board with the appointment of Richard Freudenstein as an independent non-executive director. The company will release its results for the 2021 financial year in February 2022.

2. BrainChip Holdings

Current market cap: AU$1.12 billion

BrainChip Holdings (ASX:BRN) is involved in neuromorphic computing, which is essentially a type of AI that simulates the functionality of the human neuron. As a global technology company, Brainchip is working to revolutionise edge AI applications, which combine edge computing with AI.

In November 2021, BrainChip appointed Sean Hehir as its new CEO. Since hitting a year-to-date low of AU$0.36 in October 2021, its share price has steadily risen to sit at AU$0.66 at the time of publication.

3. Dubber

Current market cap: AU$831.92 million

Dubber (ASX:DUB) aims to transform voice recording with AI voice analysis services for the telephone. The company provides cloud-based call recording services for corporate conglomerates and has the goal of becoming the voice assistant for some of the world’s largest businesses in banking and telecommunications.

In September 2021, the Melbourne-based company raised AU$110 million to acquire Notiv, a voice transcription company. COVID-19 has presented the company with growing demand from customers and a scalable growth opportunity, and in its latest quarterly activities briefing, Dubber reported more than 450,000 subscribers.

4. Bigtincan Holdings

Market cap: AU$541.54 million

Bigtincan Holdings (ASX:BTH) is a B2B software-as-a-service company specializing in sales enablement automation. Its approach involves intelligent automation software, which it describes as a mix of AI and machine learning.

In June 2021, the company announced plans to acquire augmented reality company Vidinoti for AU$700,000. The move will enable Bigtincan customers to create augmented experiences for their products without relying on third parties. In August 2021, the company entered into a definitive agreement to acquire BrainShark, another sales enablement company, with the goal of creating "the most complete Sales Enablement Platform in the market."

5. LiveTiles

Market cap: AU$79.92 million

LiveTiles (ASX:LVT) works to make an intelligent workplace using machine learning and AI. The company caters to the education, commercial and government sectors by giving developers and business users the ability to create intranets, employee portals and dashboards. One of its goals is to increase staff engagement — something that has become more important due to the global pandemic and remote working.

LiveTiles has suffered from a low share price, but has seen its annualised recurring revenues increase. It netted some high-profile clients in 2021, including a reported AU$2.1 million deal with Nestle (OTC Pink:NSRGF,SWX:NESN) and a AU$3 million deal with American healthcare company UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH).

Although LiveTiles is now headquartered in New York, CEO Karl Redenbach has said there are no current plans for a US listing; he feels the overall valuation of the company is significantly lower than it should be.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing NewsNetwork in 2020.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Galan Lithium Quarterly Appendix 5B Cash Flow Report
Galan Lithium Limited
Galan Lithium Limited

Galan Lithium Limited has issued its "Mining exploration entity or oil and gas exploration entity quarterly cash flow report".

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Activities Report for Quarter Ended 31 DECEMBER 2021
Galena Mining
Galena Mining

GALENA MINING LTD. (“Galena” or the “Company”) (ASX:G1A) reports on its activities for the quarter ending 31 December 2021 (the “Quarter”), primarily focused on construction of its 60%- owned Abra Base Metals Mine (“Abra” or the “Project”) located in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

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Quarterly Activities Report December 2021
Galan Lithium Limited
Galan Lithium Limited

The Board of Galan Lithium Limited (“Galan” or “the Company”) is pleased to provide this Quarterly Activities Report for the quarter ended 31 December 2021 to the date of this report. The main focus for the quarter was the ongoing feasibility works, construction activities and further drilling at its high-grade Hombre Muerto West (“HMW”) project and the completion of the PEA/scoping study for the Candelas project. Both key projects are located in the Hombre Muerto West salt flat in the South American Lithium Triangle (see tenement location map in Figure 1).

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Schlachta Stanislav / Shutterstock

Looking for the best-performing cobalt stocks on the ASX? Here's a look at the three top gainers of 2021.

Cobalt prices have soared this past year, with investors paying more attention to this battery metal.

A large reason for cobalt’s bullish behaviour is that it is used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles (EVs) — as demand for EVs continues to rise, it's likely cobalt demand will remain strong too.

Currently the future of EVs looks bright — the market is growing quickly and is expected to boom over the next decade. In the first half of 2021 alone, EV sales ballooned by 160 percent, and by the end of the year, a total of 15 countries had announced measures to begin transitioning toward an all-electric future.

The three top cobalt-producing countries worldwide are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia and Australia — the last of which is investing in ramping up its production of the metal.

With that in mind, which Australian cobalt miners gained the most value in 2021? Read on to learn more about the three best cobalt companies on the ASX by year-to-date share price gains. All information was obtained on December 30, 2021, using TradingView's stock screener.

1. Jervois Global

Year-to-date gain: 63.89 percent; current share price: AU$0.59

Jervois Global (ASX:JRV) is best known for its Finland operations, which produce cobalt for chemical, catalyst, pigment, powder metallurgy and — most significantly — battery applications. The company is currently in the process of launching its new Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) and is on track to become the first US cobalt miner.

On December 15, Jervois announced an update on ICO, saying first ore is expected in August 2022, with sustainable production expected by December 2022. The estimated capital expenditure required to stay on schedule has risen to US$99.1 million, up from US$92.6 million, with mine engineering 64 percent complete.

2. Cobalt Blue Holdings

Year-to-date gain: 177.78 percent; current share price: AU$0.50

Cobalt Blue Holdings (ASX:COB) is a rare cobalt-only company, and defines itself by its planned ethical and sustainable extraction and production processes. The firm's flagship New South Wales-based Broken Hill project is slated to produce an average of 3,500 to 3,600 tonnes per year of cobalt once in operation.

In December 2021, Cobalt Blue Holdings announced it has executed a memorandum of understanding with the State of Queensland, acting through the Department of Resources, to assess opportunities for the recovery of cobalt (as well as any coexisting base and precious metals) from mine waste.

3. Australian Mines

Year-to-date gain: 31.25 percent; current share price: AU$0.21

Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) is aiming to supply metals to the growing EV industry, with a focus on ethical and sustainable production. Its flagship Queensland-based Sconi nickel-cobalt project boasts a mine life of over 30 years and will be capable of processing 2 million tonnes of ore annually.

In late October, Australian Mines reported on its quarterly activities, including an agreement for Korea-based LG Energy Solution, a top global producer of EV batteries, to buy 100 percent of the Sconi project’s nickel-cobalt hydroxide output over an initial six year term. The future agreement indicates that LG Energy Solution will buy a projected 7,000 tonnes of cobalt from Australian Mines over the six year period.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Isabel Armiento, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Australia’s tech sector is making headway on an international level. Learn about the Australia tech outlook and what’s next in the country.

Australia’s technology sector is garnering attention with advancements in fintech, cleantech and gaming, among other exciting industries.

The country’s characteristically resilient economy — which had not experienced a recession in nearly 30 years prior to COVID-19 lockdowns — has provided a sturdy backdrop for its growing tech sector. As economies worldwide face uncertainty, Australia’s job market continues to defy global trends.

In fact, as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, Australia’s employment level rose by a record 366,100 jobs in November 2021, surpassing projections of a 205,000 turnaround, as per a Reuters report.

Australia tech outlook: Strong international players

With Australia’s strong economy in mind, companies at an international scale have been securing footholds in the country’s technology market in recent years.

For instance, Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank (OTC Pink:SFTBY,TSE:9984) began investing in Australia in 2016 via the acquisition of AI and robotics firm ST Solutions. ST Solutions' flagship robot, Pepper, can greet customers in 21 languages using emotional response analytics. Pepper is at the forefront of Softbank’s robot initiatives.

Similarly, in April 2019, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) launched its inaugural commercial drone delivery system in North Canberra, Australia. The service — called Wing — delivers food, coffee and retail items by drone to residences. Orders are placed through a mobile app.

More recently, Google announced plans to invest AU$1 billion in Australia over the next five years, including in tech startups and a regional research hub in Sydney. "Australia can help lead the world's next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said.

Some of the biggest names in global tech are also taking positions in Aussie-grown tech startups. In May 2020, Chinese gaming and social media firm Tencent Holdings (OTC Pink:TCHEY,HKEX:0700) bought a 5 percent stake in Australian buy now, pay later company Afterpay (ASX:APT,OTC Pink:AFTPF)

As these large tech companies invest in Australia, tech unicorns (startups with valuations of more than a billion dollars) have garnered attention. According to CB Insights, there are currently six Australian unicorn tech companies: Canva, Culture Amp, Judo Capital, Safety Culture, Go1, Pet Circle and Airwallex.

Design startup Canva is estimated to be worth US$40 billion. It has over 60 million monthly active users, and 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies use its services, including Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL). In May 2019, it acquired both Pexels and Pixabay, broadening its stock photo subscription model service. After securing US$200 million in funding in September 2021, the company has plans to double its workforce.

Australia tech outlook: Top tech trends

As mentioned, Australia’s current tech ecosystem is largely underpinned by the country’s advancements in three core sectors: fintech, cleantech and gaming.

According to Deloitte, the fintech sector in Australia is both maturing and scaling at a steady clip, making it ripe for investment. In its Technology Fast 50 2020 report, the firm highlights Half Dome, My Plan Manager and Autoguru as the top technology companies in Australia. For its part, EY reports that 58 percent of Australians used fintech applications in 2019, with the adoption rate rising 27 percent since 2017.

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, another part of the fintech landscape, Australian exchanges CoinJar and Coinspot allow users to buy and sell digital assets. In August 2019, the Gemini exchange also launched its services in Australia, offering users the ability to exchange bitcoin, bitcoin cash, zcash, litecoin and ether. A December 2021 EY report states that the country is on track to see its crypto market swell to up to 30 times its current size by 2030.

Emerging as a leader in the cleantech sector, Australia is making strides in renewable energy technology, such as wind and solar power, as well as energy storage. In early 2019, Melbourne began using wind to power 100 percent of its municipal infrastructure, such as universities, town halls and street lights.

In Queensland, Genex Power began construction of its 250 megawatt Kidston pumped hydro project in 2021. The company secured a government loan of up to AU$610 million to move the project forward. Meanwhile, as part of a 10 year deal, members of the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project will purchase 88 gigawatt hours of wind power annually from Pacific Hydro; the deal has resulted in the creation of nearly 150 new jobs. Fast Company notes that this new business model has spurred renewable energy contracts from several large corporations in Australia.

As Australia makes formative moves in renewable energy, it is also showing explosive growth in the gaming and esports sectors. PwC expects revenue for Australia’s games and esports market hit AU$3.41 billion in 2020.

Australia is home to a number of ASX-listed esports companies, including: Esports Mogul (ASX:ESH), Emerge Gaming (ASX:EM1), iCandy Interactive (ASX:ICI), Kneomedia (ASX:KNM,OTCQB:KNEOF) and SportsHero (ASX:SHO,OTC Pink:NIROF). Further expanding the esports investment opportunities in Australia, the ASX now has an esports-focused exchange-traded fund, the VanEck Vectors Video Gaming and Esports ETF (ASX:ESPO).

As the esports sector continues to expand, it has attracted international partnerships. In 2018, Riot Games, publisher of League of Legends and Valorant, partnered with the Australian Football League and brought an esports event to the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, a stadium that seats 4,000. In the summer of 2020, Ubisoft Australia extended its partnership with XP Esports Australia for seasons two and three of the XP Women’s League, as well as the new High School League Rainbow Six competition.

In 2022, Australian esports fans can look forward to the country's first DreamHack festival, an international immersive gaming lifestyle experience first launched in 1994. The three day event will take place in Melbourne, and will feature professional tournaments, as well as “the biggest range of e-sports and gaming content ever seen at an Australian festival," reported Esports Grizzly.

Australia tech outlook: What’s ahead

Looking ahead, PwC expects the Australian gaming and esports market to reach AU$4.9 billion by 2025. The forecasted growth is attributed to app-based games and in-app purchases in a market saturated with smartphone ownership and improved monetisation strategies for increased revenue from mobile games.

Deloitte has made several predictions for the future of tech in Australia. The major sectors the firm sees leading the way forward include on-demand video streaming services, gaming consoles, semiconductor chips, fixed wireless access, private 5G and wearable medical devices.

For its part, the Tech Council of Australia states that the number of workers in the country’s technology field will increase by 286,000 between 2021 and 2025 to reach over 1 million employed in the industry.

It's clear that the capital markets recognised this growing demand early on. In mid-2019, ABC News reported that the ASX was aiming to become an epicentre for tech listings, and over the past few years it has focused on recruiting more late-stage tech companies to access greater pools of capital.

Underscoring this growth are key economic factors. Australia’s economy is recovering from COVID-19 lockdowns. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “as the recovery continues, labour market conditions will improve and spare capacity will be absorbed.” The OECD is calling for real gross domestic product to grow by 3.8 percent in 2021, 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3 percent in 2023.

What’s more, the wave of initial public offerings (IPOs) that swept Australia’s tech industry in late 2020 continued throughout 2021, with newly listed companies such as Airtasker (ASX:ART) and PEXA (ASX:PXA) amassing initial valuations of AU$255 million and AU$3 billion, respectively. Tech listings are expected to underpin IPOs on the ASX in 2022, and are anticipated to include buy now, pay later business Beforepay, marketplace technology firm Marketplacer and healthcare technology business Careteq.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2019.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.