Chinese Tech Companies Now Want a Slice of the Action Thanks to AI Chatbot ChatGPT
In this article we have explained how Chinese tech companies now want a slice of the action and AI chatbot, ChatGPT comes to the rescue. Read to know more about Chinese companies and ChatGPT.
Now and then, something catches everyone’s attention. Last week in the Chinese tech companies, it was ChatGPT. Perhaps it was the holiday season, or perhaps it was the fact that ChatGPT is not currently available in China. But it took more than two months for the natural-language-processing chatbot to take off in the country.
However, in the last week, almost every major Chinese tech company has announced plans to launch their ChatGPT-like products (including some that have never been known for artificial intelligence capabilities), while the public of China has been frantically trying out the service.
Most people who have used ChatGPT in China have done so via VPNs or paid workarounds—for example, clever entrepreneurs have essentially rented out OpenAI accounts or asked ChatGPT questions to buyers. They asked 20 questions for a few dollars. However, screenshots and short social videos displaying ChatGPT’s responses have swept Chinese social media this week, allowing even more people to see the results.
Aside from the allure of the new and difficult-to-access chatGPT, it’s likely that its ability to answer questions in Chinese has exceeded many people’s (including mine!) expectations. GPT-3, OpenAI’s previous model of this technology, released in 2020 and also unavailable in China, was not very good at working with Chinese content. While a few Chinese companies have created localised GPT-3 chatbot alternatives, users frequently dismiss them as predictable, repetitive, and frustratingly off base.
In comparison, ChatGPT is surprisingly good at forming natural, if a little formal, responses that appear to understand traditional and pop-cultural references in China. It can write in the emoji-heavy style of Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of China’s main propaganda mouthpiece, the Global Times; it knows meme songs in Chinese and can create similar lyrics from scratch; and it can write in the emoji-heavy style of influencer posts from the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu.
As in English, the accuracy of ChatGPT’s Chinese answers frequently falls apart upon closer inspection, and it makes factual errors. However, the fact that a chatbot developed by an American company demonstrates this level of understanding of contemporary China continues to astound the public. Many of the ChatGPT answers left me speechless: Wow, it does a better Hu Xijin impersonation than I do!
As a result, it’s not surprising that Chinese tech firms want a piece of the action. Baidu, the search and AI company arguably best positioned to introduce a ChatGPT alternative, will complete testing of its “Ernie Bot” in March. The company is planning to incorporate it into most of its hardware and software and products. And DAMO Academy which is a research division of Alibaba is testing a similar tool internally. 360, a cybersecurity and search company said it will release a demo “ASAP.” Other technology firms, such as NetEase, iFlytek, and JD.com, want to use their own AI chatbots in specific scenarios such as education, e-commerce, and finance.
The current action is motivated by a combination of excitement and FOMO. On the one hand, very few tech products have garnered as much public attention as ChatGPT, providing Chinese companies with a rare confidence boost. The public is still extremely excited and hopeful about new technology. On the other hand, there is pressure on these companies to not miss out on this massive trend or to appear to have missed out.
That’s also probably why we’re seeing some, let’s say, irrational corporate action. For example, Secoo, a failing luxury e-commerce company with little background in AI, announced on February 6th that it would investigate using ChatGPT-like tech. Its stock price increased 124.4% that day. Meanwhile, Wang Huiwen, a cofounder of China’s delivery giant Meituan, announced on social media that he is investing US$50 million in a ChatGPT-like company. Since then, he has already secured US$230 million in VC funding, despite admitting that he does not understand AI technology and is still learning.
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