Baidu Ernie Bot 100M

Baidu’s ChatGPT Rival Ernie Bot Surpasses 100M Users in 4 Months

Chinese tech giant Baidu’s generative AI chatbot Ernie Bot has accumulated more than 100 million users since it launched to the public in August. That’s according to Baidu chief technology officer Wang Haifeng, who boasted of the milestone at a deep learning summit held in Beijing this week.

Ernie Bot Boom

After five months of testing, Baidu made Ernie Bot generally available in both desktop and mobile app form. The company soon introduced an upgraded version powered by its Ernie 4.0 large language model. The new LLM enhanced the chatbot’s conversational understanding and added synthetic image and video engines, along with a 30% improvement in overall performance.

“Ernie 4.0 has achieved a full upgrade with drastically improved performance in understanding, generation, reasoning, and memory,” Baidu CEO Robin Li said at the time. “These four core capabilities form the foundation of AI-native applications and have now unleashed unlimited opportunities for new innovations.”

There’s also now a premium version of Ernie Bot with expanded usage and early access to new capabilities for 59.90 yuan, about $8.40, per month. The massive uptake of Ernie Bot aligns with Baidu’s stated goal of leveraging generative  AI to expand its core search, cloud computing, and other businesses. For instance, Ernie Bot is now bringing better natural language search to Baidu’s online storage service and generating summaries for Baidu’s primary search engine. The chatbot has come a long way from the tepid reception Ernie Bot received in its initial unveiling in March, with a demo that relied on videos and drew criticism for its caution.

Baidu has synced Ernie Bot to comply with China’s generative AI regulations since its initial announcement, which may help it beat OpenAI and other American companies domestically. Chinese authorities have mandated that training data and outputs align with government-approved values, leading to events like Apple pulling over 100 apps from its Chinese App Store for not meeting the rules. Still, Baidu has plenty of local competition from the likes of Alibaba and Huawei.

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