In a significant move reflecting Chinese regulatory approval and a drive to advance artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Alibaba announced on Wednesday that it will make its AI model, Tongyi Qianwen, accessible to the public.
This development underscores China’s accelerating efforts to bolster AI development as it competes with the United States in the rapidly evolving AI landscape.
The Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Division revealed that several organizations, including OPPO, Taobao, DingTalk, and Zhejiang University, have entered into cooperation agreements with Alibaba to either train their own large language models or create language model applications based on Tongyi Qianwen. This move demonstrates the growing interest among various sectors in leveraging AI language models for diverse applications.
Moreover, Alibaba’s announcement hinted at broader accessibility, stating that an open-source version of the large language model will be made available for free commercial use “by the whole society” in the near future, signaling the company’s commitment to democratizing AI technology and promoting its widespread adoption.
This news follows recent developments within Alibaba’s leadership. Earlier this week, Daniel Zhang, former group CEO and head of Alibaba’s Cloud division, stepped down from his position. Eddie Wu, the newly appointed Alibaba Group CEO, succeeded him.
In an internal communication to Alibaba staff, Eddie Wu emphasized the central role of AI in the company’s future strategy. He stated, “Over the next decade, the most significant change agent will be the disruptions brought about by AI across all sectors.” Wu further underscored the importance of keeping pace with the evolving AI era to remain competitive, highlighting the transformative potential of AI across various industries.
Alibaba initially unveiled Tongyi Qianwen in April, revealing its intention to integrate the AI large language model, akin to ChatGPT, into all of its business applications. This move aligns with Alibaba’s broader vision to harness AI capabilities for enhancing its services and driving innovation across its ecosystem.
Alibaba’s decision to open Tongyi Qianwen to the public signifies a significant step forward in China’s AI landscape and further solidifies the company’s commitment to AI-driven advancements that can benefit a wide range of industries and applications.