• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Baidu says its ChatGPT rival Ernie bot has more than 100 million users

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HANGZHOU, CHINA – NOVEMBER 23: People learn about Baidu’s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot service ERNIE Bot during the 2nd Global Digital Trade Expo at Hangzhou International Expo Center on November 23, 2023 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. (Photo by Wang Gang/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

China News Service | China News Service | Getty Images

BEIJING — Chinese tech company Baidu said Thursday its ChatGPT-like artificial intelligence product, Ernie bot, has surpassed 100 million users.

Baidu shares closed 3% higher in U.S. trading, keeping the stock mildly higher for 2023. The company did not specify whether the Ernie bot user numbers were active or for a specific time period.

Microsoft-backed OpenAI said in November that ChatGPT had about 100 million weekly active users. The chatbot isn’t officially available in China, but can be used in the Chinese language.

Ernie bot, which can be used in English in addition to its primary language of Chinese, requires a China mobile number for user registration. The app is called “Wenxinyiyan” in Mandarin Chinese.

Baidu released its chatbot in March but didn’t get regulatory approval for mass rollout until late August, when several local players also received the green light.

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TikTok parent ByteDance offers a chatbot called Doubao, which ranked second in the free-to-use productivity category in Apple’s app store in China as of Friday morning.

Tencent and Alibaba have focused more on AI products for business partners, but both offer chatbots to the public in China. Tencent’s sits inside its widely used WeChat messaging and social media app.

In November, Baidu started charging about $8 a month for its most advanced version of Ernie bot. ChatGPT charges $20 a month to use its latest available model.

— CNBC’s Hayden Field contributed to this report.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

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