FB Pixel no scriptBaidu deepens foothold in Chinese AI market with Ernie 4.0 upgrade | KrASIA

Baidu deepens foothold in Chinese AI market with Ernie 4.0 upgrade

Written by KrASIA Connection Published on   2 mins read

In addition to the upgraded AI model, Baidu also unveiled PaddlePaddle 3.0, the latest version of its deep learning platform.

Ernie Bot, Baidu’s flagship generative artificial intelligence product, has become the go-to option for millions in China, akin to ChatGPT in many parts of the world. Since its launch, Ernie Bot is said to have amassed over 300 million users, and its API handles a staggering 500 million queries daily, reflecting its deep integration across the country.

In a strategic move to solidify its position in the Chinese market, Baidu announced on June 28 the upgraded Ernie 4.0 Turbo model. This advanced version promises faster responses and superior performance compared to its predecessor and will soon be available via web, app, and API interfaces.

The company also introduced PaddlePaddle 3.0, the latest version of its deep learning platform. The upgraded platform integrates advanced core technologies such as auto-parallel architecture, compiler optimization, and multi-hardware compatibility. These enhancements are designed to boost performance and deliver optimal outcomes for large models, supporting what Baidu claims to be over 14 million developers and 370,000 businesses and institutions.

Baidu is among the fastest movers in China regarding AI developments. It was one of the first entities to receive approval from Chinese authorities to launch large language model (LLM) products for domestic use in August 2023, having spent years developing the foundational model, Wenxin LLM.

Subsequently, its AI capabilities have gained international traction. In January 2024, Samsung Electronics announced the integration of Ernie Bot into its flagship Galaxy S24 smartphone series in China, marking the first AI-powered product from Samsung leveraging Baidu’s technology. Apple, Samsung’s longtime rival, soon after entered discussions with Baidu for a similar arrangement with its iPhone series.

Additionally, other tech giants like Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, Lenovo, and Nio have integrated Ernie’s API into their devices and services.

The regulatory landscape in China has significantly shaped the AI market. In February 2023, Chinese regulators instructed domestic companies not to offer the ChatGPT service, citing concerns over the AI-powered chatbot’s uncensored replies. This led to a requirement for tech companies to report to regulators before launching similar services.

OpenAI has since announced plans to block access to its services from mainland China starting July 9, 2024. This decision will impact numerous Chinese enterprises leveraging OpenAI’s technology.

Financially, Ernie exemplifies Baidu’s shift toward an AI-first business model, which has shown signs of paying off.

The company reported revenue of RMB 31.5 billion (USD 4.3 billion) and a net profit (non-GAAP) of RMB 7.011 billion (USD 970 million) for the first quarter of 2024, marking a 22% year-on-year increase. During the Q1 2024 earnings call, co-founder, chairman, and CEO Robin Li emphasized this pivot from an internet-centric business to an AI-driven enterprise as reflective of Baidu’s long-term vision and strategic direction.


Auto loading next article...