Chinese tech giant Baidu on Tuesday revealed its ChatGPT-style chatbot and will complete its beta testing in March, with China’s other major tech companies Alibaba and NetEase also developing similar projects.

Fast facts

  • Baidu’s ChatGPT rival “Ernie Bot” is undergoing closed beta testing and will be embedded into Baidu’s search engine, according to a local news report. Baidu did not disclose a launch date.
  • Following the company’s Ernie Bot announcement, Baidu’s U.S. shares closed at US$160.22 on Tuesday – the highest since March 2022 – and closed at US$152.34 on Wednesday, according to Yahoo Finance.
  • Fellow Chinese tech giants NetEase and Alibaba are also working on generative AI projects, according to local media reports.
  • Baidu introduced Ernie (Enhanced representation through knowledge integration) in 2019, an AI-powered language model that can understand language by learning from data, laying the foundation for Ernie Bot. 
  • Ernie currently ranks fifth on the General Language Understanding Evaluation leaderboard – a global benchmark that evaluates AI’s ability to understand human language.
  • Baidu has also launched multiple AI tools such as Plato for dialogue generation and Ernie-ViLG for text-to-picture generation.
  • ChatGPT, launched by OpenAI in November 2022, has been used by cryptocurrency fans and traders for research, creating trading bots and coding assistance for developers. 

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