China approves home-grown ChatGPT-like bots for public use

Tech stocks saw a jump after 11 companies received the necessary clearances to offer services to more than a billion potential users.
Ameya Paleja
AI chatbot
AI chatbot


The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has officially given its approval to multiple tech firms, allowing them to offer their artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbots on a large scale, Reuters reported. Prior to this, companies could only conduct small-scale public tests.

Chinese tech firms have spent billions on developing AI models after the resounding popularity of OpenAI's ChatGPT last year. The US-based company is estimated to rake in a billion dollars in revenue over the next year, a recent report from The Information said.

China's tech firms have ensured that their models are bilingual and work equally well in English as they do in Mandarin. This allows them to not only tap into the large local market but also the global one, where the likes of ChatGPT will operate.

The regulatory scene in China

With AI being such a disruptive technology, experts have called for heavy regulation of the upcoming industry. Popular names in the technology industry, like Elon Musk, even called for a moratorium on the development of technology to enable greater thought on the way forward.

While the US is still working on drafting its policy on AI, China has been swift in announcing guardrails for the use of the technology. Earlier in April, the country unveiled its stance on AI but more recent iterations see a more watered-down approach in its compliance demands.

The rules brought into effect on August 15th required companies to seek a government clearance before commencing services for a large number of users. Now, the CAC has reportedly cleared 11 companies to run these services, many of which have already gone live.

China approves home-grown ChatGPT-like bots for public use
AI chatbot

AI boost for tech stocks

Chinese search giant Baidu was one of the first companies to see its AI-powered bot available to users. Baidu's Ernie bot was first unveiled in March this year but access to the public was limited. After recent approvals, the Ernie bot rapidly became the most popular app on the App Store in China.

Another company, SenseTime, also confirmed that its offering of SenseBot was also available to users, while three more AI startups confirmed launches. Missing in action was the Alibaba Group, whose Tongyi Qianwen AI model made quite a splash when it was released but has not received government approval for a public launch yet, Reuters reported.

The first-mover advantage is critical in China, which can potentially offer more than a billion customers. With OpenAI's ChatGPT inaccessible in the country, users are keen to get their hands on the technology. Early releases will not only attract more users but also give the companies an edge in fine-tuning their offerings faster.

Stock prices of Baidu and SenseTime were trading higher on the Hong Kong exchange this morning even as markets traded lower. The government is also keen on reviving its sagging economy and AI is high on the priority list in the technology sector.

Interestingly, TikTok owner ByteDance and the world's biggest gaming company by revenue, Tencent, have also received approvals for their AI offerings, although there is little information available as to what they might be.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board