Baidu's AI generative product ERNIE Bot amasses over 100 million users as China welcomes a 'battle of large models'
Published: Dec 28, 2023 10:05 PM


Chinese tech giant Baidu's generative artificial intelligence (AI) product ERNIE Bot (also known as Wenxin Yiyan) has accumulated more than 100 million users, Baidu CTO Wang Haifeng said at a conference on Thursday.

With millions of users downloading Baidu's AI bot and testing the service, it has received more and more queries after its public debut on August 31, Wang said in his speech, noting that the product has gained great trust of its users.

In a statement sent to the Global Times recently, the company said its ERNIE Bot has undergone rapid upgrading with its latest version 4.0 achieving significant improvements in four major capabilities - understanding, generation, logic and memory.

Meanwhile, ERNIE Bot, along with other three large generative AI models developed by 360 Group, Tencent and Alibaba, has passed the official "Large Model Standard Compliance Assessment" in China recently. This means the models have reached national standard in terms of generality, intelligence and security.

The top 10 new phrases in 2023 released by China Central Television include "generative AI," and "battle of large models," indicating the mushrooming of AI applications based on large language models such as ChatGPT, or China tech giant Baidu's ERNIE Bot.

To encourage and support the nation's development of AI, the Chinese government has vowed to provide a favorable market environment and proposed several AI-related regulations. For example, in April, the country's top policymakers held a meeting emphasizing the importance of developing generative AI models, creating an innovative ecosystem, and focusing on risk prevention.

Such efforts have led to a surge of AI companies nationwide. According to media reports, there are at least 130 Chinese companies conducting research on large generative AI model products. It is expected that more registrations will be approved in the future.

However, considering the challenges brought by the disruptive technology, the central government has attached great importance to developing generative AI in a more responsible way and avoiding potential risks brought by technological advancement. For example, China's Interim Measures for the Management of Generative Artificial Intelligence Services took effect on August 15, one of the country's major steps to regulate generative AI.

As of October 2023, the total number of large models published in China reportedly reached 238. Data from IT Juzi, a venture capital database and business information service provider focusing on digital economy and new technology in China, showed that the number of AI corporations in China is expected to amount to more than 60 among the new startups founded in 2023.