Chinese internet giants speed up development of AI to tap vast market
Published: Apr 17, 2024 01:54 AM
AI Photo:VCG

AI Photo:VCG

Chinese internet giants and Baidu are aiming to speed up the development and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) large language models (LLMs), as they hope to deploy their latest technologies to tap China's massive online market. launched a livestream shopping event with an AI avatar of its founder Liu Qiangdong as the host on Tuesday evening, and the number of viewers reached 3.823 million within five minutes after the session started. 

Liu's AI avatar, powered by the company's LLM ChatRhino, which was unveiled in July 2023, shared insights on cuisine, literature, and lifestyle while showcasing discounted products from the platform. The session drew significant public attention, as many had called on Liu to hold a livestream session following the company's announcement of a 1-billion-yuan plan to attract more content creators to its platform.  

On the same day, Baidu kicked off its annual developer conference, Baidu Create 2024, in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province. Baidu CEO Li Yanhong announced that the company's AI chatbot, Ernie Bot, has racked up more than 200 million users, roughly double the number since the company's last update in December 2023. 

The latest moves by the internet giants underscored not only the vitality of China's digital economy but also the increasingly advanced AI capabilities. 

As of April, 117 LLMs have been registered in China for generative AI services, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), reflecting the fierce competition in this burgeoning sector. 

China is also stepping up efforts to boost AI development. This year's government work report noted AI's crucial role in accelerating new quality productive forces, highlighting the country's continuous push for the high-quality development of the digital economy by stepping up R&D and application of big data and AI, and launching an AI Plus Initiative. 

With the world's most comprehensive industrial system, China now boasts robust LLM development and ample AI adoption scenarios. As the government pushes its AI Plus Initiative, every individual and enterprise can unleash boundless creativity and productivity, Li said at the conference. 

China's digital economy has seen a boom in recent years. Major Chinese internet firms also reported sound revenue growth for 2023. Tech giant Tencent's revenue reached 609 billion yuan, up 10 percent year-on-year, and other internet firms including, Baidu, and Kuaishou achieved better-than-expected results.

Meanwhile, the potential for AI applications is vast. According to the annual report on China's internet audiovisual services, China has over 1 billion online audiovisual users, with short video applications being particularly popular. Over 70 percent of users are engaged with short videos and livestream shopping, indicating that content consumption has become a key battleground for internet giants seeking market growth.