Baidu’s AI Chatbot “Ernie Bot” Surpasses 200 mn Users Amidst Growing Competition

Tech giant Baidu has revealed that its artificial intelligence chatbot, “Ernie Bot,” has now amassed over 200 million users. This milestone underscores Baidu’s determination to maintain Ernie Bot’s position as China’s premier ChatGPT-like chatbot, amidst escalating competition.
Baidu Ernie botThe user base for Ernie Bot has approximately doubled since the company’s last update in December, marking a significant surge in popularity since its public release eight months ago, Reuters news report said.

Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li, further disclosed that Ernie Bot’s application programming interface (API) is being actively utilized 200 million times every day, indicating the frequency with which users engage the chatbot for various tasks.

During a conference held in Shenzhen, Li also noted that the number of enterprise clients utilizing the chatbot has reached 85,000, highlighting its widespread adoption within the business community.

Previously, Li had informed analysts in February that Baidu had begun to generate revenue from Ernie Bot. In the fourth quarter of the previous year, the company reported earning several hundred million yuan by leveraging AI to enhance its advertising services and assisting other enterprises in constructing their own models.

Ernie Bot made its debut last March as the first domestically developed ChatGPT-like chatbot announced in China. However, it only received approval for public release in August, being one of the initial eight AI chatbots sanctioned by Beijing. Notably, unlike many other countries, China mandates companies to obtain approval before launching generative AI services.

Recent data indicates that rival domestic AI services, particularly the “Kimi” chatbot from the Alibaba-backed start-up Moonshot AI, are rapidly gaining ground on Ernie Bot. While Ernie Bot received a total of 14.9 million visits across its application and website last month, Kimi registered 12.6 million visits during the same period, as per data from AIcpb.com, a platform tracking user visits to online AI services.

Furthermore, Kimi demonstrated a significantly faster growth rate, with visits surging by 321.6 percent in March compared to February, whereas visits to Ernie Bot increased by over 48 percent, according to the data.

On a global scale, Chinese generative AI services still trail behind their Western counterparts. OpenAI’s ChatGPT remains the world’s most popular generative AI service, with total traffic reaching 1.86 billion views last month, according to AIcpb.com.

In recent months, China has expedited approvals for AI services, underscoring its commitment to AI development as a crucial area in which it must compete with the United States. State media reported last week that 117 large AI models have received approvals thus far, signaling the nation’s concerted efforts to bolster its AI capabilities.

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