According to Baidu, the ChatGPT Competitor Ernie bot now Boasts over 100 Million Users

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Chinese tech giant Baidu announced on Thursday that its artificial intelligence product, Ernie bot, has surpassed 100 million users. This milestone reflects the growing popularity of AI-driven chatbots in the Chinese market. Baidu’s shares closed 3% higher in U.S. trading, contributing to a mild increase in the stock’s performance for 2023. However, the company did not specify whether the 100 million Ernie bot users were active or the timeframe over which this user base was accumulated.

Ernie bot, similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, can be used in both English and Chinese, with a user registration process requiring a China mobile number. The app, named “Wenxinyiyan” in Mandarin Chinese, was released by Baidu in March. Regulatory approval for mass rollout was obtained in late August, coinciding with approvals granted to other local players.

Microsoft-backed OpenAI revealed in November that ChatGPT had approximately 100 million weekly active users, despite not being officially available in China. However, it can be utilized in the Chinese language.

In the competitive landscape of AI-driven chatbots in China, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance offers a chatbot called Doubao, which secured the second position in the free-to-use productivity category on Apple’s app store in China.

Tencent and Alibaba, major players in the Chinese tech scene, have predominantly focused on AI products for business partners. Nevertheless, both companies provide chatbots to the public in China. Tencent’s chatbot is integrated into its widely-used WeChat messaging and social media app.

Baidu introduced a subscription model for Ernie bot in November, charging approximately $8 per month for its most advanced version. This move aligns with the trend in the industry, as even OpenAI’s ChatGPT has a subscription fee of $20 per month for its latest available model. The adoption of AI chatbots in China and the monetization strategies employed by tech companies underscore the increasing significance of these conversational AI tools in the digital landscape.


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