Image credit : NBC News
Leading Chinese internet search company Baidu Inc. has committed 1 billion yuan ($140 million) to the development of generative AI-focused Chinese businesses. According to Bloomberg, the action adds Baidu to the global investment tidal wave focused on ChatGPT-like services.
Baidu’s $140 million Investment in Startups Using Generative AI
The financing, which may total up to 10 million yuan per project, would be used to support initiatives that make use of Baidu’s Ernie AI model, the company said in a statement. Entrepreneurial investors, such as IDG Capital, will assess founders’ pitches before making a judgment on startup funding.
One of China’s top startup funding organizations and its top AI developer have joined forces to create this incubator program. The media flurry around the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT has served as a catalyst for China’s aggressive AI investment policy, which has led to this advancement.
As a retaliation, Baidu introduced Ernie Bot, its own version of ChatGPT. This led rivals including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd., and SenseTime Group Inc. to compete by releasing their own platforms. Aspiring entrepreneurs that intend to use Ernie to extend their services will submit ideas to Baidu, which will review them in collaboration with investment capitalists.
The Function of Ernie AI in China’s Growing AI Market
“Large-language models will give birth to AI-native applications,” said billionaire Baidu founder Robin Li at a recent event where he announced an upgrade to Ernie. “Baidu will become the first company to rework all of its products. It’s not about integrating or accessing AI. It’s about rework and restructuring.”
But it’s too early to determine if Ernie Bot will become a “killer app,” similar to Tencent’s ubiquitous WeChat. According to China’s top internet watchdog, generative AI technologies must undergo security audits before being used. Additionally, US sanctions have prevented Chinese tech companies from obtaining the best chips for their AI model training, thus expanding the gap between Ernie Bot and similar services offered in the West.
Li introduced Ernie Bot in March via a pre-recorded demo, which disappointed analysts and investors. Despite favorable feedback from a small group of testers, Baidu’s shares are still down almost 20% from their February peak. Despite these difficulties, the organization is hopeful and devoted to using its most recent effort to redefine the AI environment.