China is building its own AI at a rapid pace


China’s tech giants are racing to catch up in the AI arms race.

The Chinese government has approved more than 40 AI models in the past six months since it began this process, according to local media reports cited by Reuters, as tech companies seek to make up ground on US rivals like OpenAI.

That includes 14 new Large Language Models (LLMs) approved for public use in just the last week. A senior executive at Chinese tech firm Tencent previously described the country’s emerging AI gold rush as a « war of a hundred models » in September.

Leading the way in this « war » is Baidu, a search engine giant sometimes referred to as « China’s Google. »

The company has released a ChatGPT-rival named « Ernie Bot » which, after a rocky start, it now says has over 100 million users and can go head-to-head with OpenAI’s GPT-4 model.

Baidu faces competition from Apple smartphone rivals Huawei and Xiaomi, who have also invested in their own AI models, and from TikTok owner Bytedance.

The latter’s AI push has already proven highly controversial. Bytedance has built an unreleased AI voice converter that researchers warn could be used for fraud, and the company was suspended from accessing OpenAI’s tools in December after The Verge reported that it had been using them to build a ChatGPT competitor.