The AI race is officially on, and China’s no slouch.
The race to develop advanced artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots is on, and China is quickly emerging as a major player in this field. From Baidu’s Ernie to Microsoft’s Xiaoice and Tencent’s unnamed ChatGPT-style program, China’s tech powerhouses are all competing to develop the most advanced chatbot technology.
With a population of over 1.4 billion people, China is the world’s largest market for chatbot technology. In fact, according to a report by Research and Markets, China’s chatbot market is expected to reach $9.4 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.3% from 2019 to 2024.
This growth is being driven by several factors, including the widespread adoption of mobile messaging apps and the rise of e-commerce in the country. Chatbots are becoming an increasingly popular tool for businesses to engage with their customers and provide them with personalized experiences.
As the market for chatbots continues to grow, Chinese companies are investing heavily in the development of AI-powered chatbot technology. These companies are leveraging their expertise in areas such as natural language processing, machine learning, and data analytics to create chatbots that are more intelligent, responsive, and engaging than ever before.
In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the top players in China’s AI chatbot market. We will explore their offerings, their strategies, and their plans for the future. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the state of China’s chatbot market and the companies that are driving its growth.
Nonetheless, here’s a roundup of OpenAI’s rising Chinese competitors.
Baidu is a Google competitor that named its AI chatbot Ernie, which stands for Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration. Ernie was first introduced in 2019 by a team of researchers at Tsinghua University. Ernie was designed for tasks such as language understanding, developing analyses, and answering questions, much like OpenAI’s offering. Baidu’s chairman and CEO, Robin Li, announced that the company would fully integrate Ernie across all of its operations, including Baidu Search and Baidu AI Cloud. The company recently said that testing on its latest model is slated to end by March, and it plans to launch the bot the same month.
Microsoft’s Xiaoice (X-CoTA)
Microsoft’s independent AI research team in China, Xiaoice, started testing its own AI-powered chatbot, X-CoTA, on February 21. The company said that its tool can obtain and save data in real-time. It is also less computing power-hungry, which lowers the cost of training for developers. Li Di, CEO of Xiaoice, said that if X-CoTA followed ChatGPT’s method, it would cost the firm US$43 million a day to run.
Tencent has confirmed that it is working on a ChatGPT-style program. While the company has not shared much detail on its plans, it said that R&D on the tech is running along “in an orderly manner.”
NetEase’s education subsidiary, Youdao, is working on its own ChatGPT-like bot. While not much is known about the program right now, CNBC has reported that the tech may be integrated into Youdao’s education offerings.
Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, has said that it is undergoing tests for an AI chatbot but did not share further information on its launch timeline. A spokesperson for the company told CNN that generative AI has been a focus for Alibaba since it rolled out Damo Academy, a global research effort for “solving problems with profit and fun.”
Kunlun Tech recently released a series of AI-generated content algorithms for different use cases, including SkyText, a ChatGPT-like offering that can provide continued dialogue, translation, content generation, and poetry writing, among other features.
According to local media, the AI research arm of the popular video-sharing platform TikTok has been developing a ChatGPT-like bot to provide technical assistance for Pico, a VR headset maker that ByteDance acquired in 2021.
The video streaming platform’s offering is said to cater to e-commerce, providing customer assistance and customer service support. Development around Kuaishou’s bot revolves around copywriting and conversational systems.
Another search engine, 360 Search, has said that it looks to present a demo of its ChatGPT-like tech “as soon as possible.” The company said that its AI research arm has been investing in AI-generated content, but it has been for internal use only.
The cybersecurity company’s director, Li Jianping, told state-run Chinese media CGTN that it has been training a bot on “ChatGPT-like models” to help internal security product development. While the firm has no concrete plans right now for a public AI tool offering, Li said it
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