ChatGPT rival to launch in China, reports claim

The HQ of Baidu, which hosts websites in China, in Beijing (AFP/Getty)
The HQ of Baidu, which hosts websites in China, in Beijing (AFP/Getty)

Chinese tech giant Baidu is planning to launch its own version of the controversial AI chatbot ChatGPT, according to reports.

Baidu, often referred to as China’s Google, has reportedly been developing an artificial intelligence platform with the aim of integrating it into its search engine.

The AI bot could be ready to launch as early as March, claimed separate reports from Reuters and Bloomberg, which both claimed it would rival the capabilities of OpenAI’s technology.

“I’m so glad that the technology we are pondering every day can attract so many people’s attention. That’s not easy,” Baidu CEO Robin Li reportedly said during an internal talk last month, claiming that the commercialisation of generative AI is a “product that everyone needs”.

It would be the first major launch of a chatbot of this kind in China, with chatbots in the country currently centred towards social interactions rather than completing professional tasks like coding or writing.

Baidu unveiled several AI technologies at a recent developer conference, hinting at the capabilities its new chatbot might offer. They included an AI editor, illustrator and screenwriter.

Sources cited by Bloomberg said the new AI would allow users to receive conversation-style search results. Baidu declined to comment on the reports.

Microsoft, which has invested $10 billion in OpenAI, is currently mulling ways to incorporate ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, with hopes that the AI’s abilities could help challenge Google’s search dominance.

“We will incorporate this in our own applications,” CEO Satya Nadella said earlier this month. “Every product of Microsoft will have some of the same AI capabilities to completely transform the product.”