Chinese ChatGPT-like bots are having a moment right now.
As I reported last week, Baidu became the first Chinese tech company to roll out its large language model—called Ernie Bot—to the general public, following a regulatory approval from the Chinese government. Previously, access required an application or was limited to corporate clients. You can read more about the news here.
I have to admit the Chinese public has reacted more passionately than I had expected. According to Baidu, the Ernie Bot mobile app reached 1 million users in the 19 hours following the announcement, and the model responded to more than 33.42 million user questions in 24 hours, averaging 23,000 questions per minute.
Since then, four more Chinese companies—the facial-recognition giant SenseTime and three young startups, Zhipu AI, Baichuan AI, and MiniMax—have also made their LLM chatbot products broadly available. But some more experienced players, like Alibaba and iFlytek, are still waiting for the clearance.
Like many others, I downloaded the Ernie Bot app last week to try it out. I was curious to find out how it’s different from its predecessors like ChatGPT.