Baidu, the Chinese tech giant that has invested heavily in artificial intelligence, is set to revolutionize its popular search engine with the help of its ChatGPT-like app Ernie Bot, according to the company’s CEO, Robin Li. The app is due to launch in March, and Li believes that the generative AI powering it will significantly enhance user experience and engagement, leading to an increase in dependence on the Baidu search engine for various tasks and needs. Li also expects the integration of Ernie Bot to boost Baidu’s main source of revenue, online advertising, and plans to build an AI ecosystem around the app.
Ernie Bot’s Role in Baidu’s Expansion and Revenue Boosting Plans
Baidu’s vision for Ernie Bot comes amid a gradual decline in the company’s dominance as the Chinese answer to Google, which pulled its search engine out of the Chinese market in 2010. Baidu has faced increasing competition from companies like Tencent’s WeChat and Bytedance’s Douyin. However, Baidu has expanded its core business to include AI, cloud services, and autonomous driving, while also pouring money into research and development.
Li believes that the generative AI technology underpinning Ernie Bot will be a productivity boon for other businesses and entrepreneurs looking to build their own apps. More than 400 companies have already signed up to join the Ernie Bot community as early users of the app.
Baidu has an advantage as the “first mover” in China’s market, according to Li. The company has spent years developing large language models that were trained on the billions of daily search requests inputted by its search engine’s users. Additionally, Ernie Bot is “state of the art” among large AI-driven language models in terms of understanding China’s language and culture.
First Mover Advantage: Baidu’s Dominance in China’s AI Market
While OpenAI and ChatGPT are not blocked by Chinese authorities, OpenAI does not allow users in mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Russia, and parts of Africa to sign up. Dozens of Chinese tech companies, including e-commerce giants Alibaba Group and JD.Com Inc, have announced plans to develop their own ChatGPT-style tools.
In conclusion, Baidu’s Ernie Bot app is set to revolutionize the company’s search engine by enhancing user experience and engagement, leading to an increase in dependence on the Baidu search engine for various tasks and needs. This integration is also expected to boost Baidu’s online advertising revenue, and the company plans to build an AI ecosystem around the app. Baidu’s large language models and the app’s understanding of China’s language and culture give the company an advantage as the “first mover” in China’s market.