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The AI chatbot from the leading Internet company in China clocked 100 million users in the country. The conversation AI dubbed Ernie Bot realized swift traction in China as it eyes closing the gap with its global-oriented rival chatbots. 

Ernie Bot has realized 100 million users since its unveiling to the public in August. Baidu chief technology executive Haifeng Wang hailed the milestone as critical for the new entrant into the segment. 

Ernie Bot Serving 7% of China’s Population

Wang disclosed during the deep learning summit held in Beijing, as reported in a Reuters publication on Thursday, December 28. Ernie Bot seeks to complement Baidu’s search engine, commanding 76% of China’s internet market. 

Wang lauded the short time taken to realize the century million mark in a year that Baidu’s internet users eclipsed the 705 million. 

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Robin Li unveiled The AI chatbot in August, profiling Ernie 4.0 as possessing superior capabilities to its predecessors at the Baidu World event. The company founder added that the chatbot, particularly Ernie 3.5, better than its predecessors. 

Li described the company’s new model as the most powerful to date. It features comprehensive upgrades to the core abilities, including generation, memory, reasoning and understanding. 

Li contrasted Ernie 4.0 to the GPT-4 model developed by the Microsoft-backed OpenAI. The executive reflected on the SUPERGLU benchmark, declaring Ernie 4.0 the leader in performance among the existing peer Chinese large language models (LLMs). 

The Ernie Bot is a critical input component of Baidu’s corporate strategy to infuse advanced AI-powered products into its internet services. 

A reflection of the user base milestone for Badu’s AI chatbot would involve factoring in the country’s population, which Word Bank estimates as 1.4 billion people. The 100 million users realized by Ernie Bot signifies significant market penetration, representing 7% of China’s population.  

Ernie Bot’s Simcard Requirement Restricts Reach to Local User Base

Ernie Bot utilizes a unique approach limiting its ability to realize global users. In particular, it compels the users to have the Chinese phone number when registering. 

The sim card requirement portrays a localized approach relative to the globally accessible Anthropic’s Claude 2 and OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It plays out when reflecting on the numbers, considering ChatGPT realized the century million mark in two months following its unveiling. 

The absence of global outreach disadvantages Baidu, considering that it had already availed Ernie Bot for closed testing several months before its debut in August. 

Efforts to inquire about Baidu’s plan for giving Ernie Bot a global presence turned futile. 

During the unveiling of the Ernie bot, Baidu emphasized its focus on enhancing and expanding the provision of AI-powered capabilities. Baidu declared its objective to leverage Ernie Bot to replicate the global trend where the tech industry is realizing a broader push towards integrating AI-powered solutions. 

Ernie Bot Successfully Navigates the Complex Chinese Dialects to Grow User Base to 100M 

The rapid development and unveiling of Ernie Bot affirms Baidu’s awareness of the competitive nature portrayed by AI and tech space. Creating even the smallest wins mandates innovation and growing the user base, constituting critical success indicators. 

The milestone realized by Ernie Bot shows that AI is set to witness intense development and fierce competition. The 100 million user base is a notable contribution to the China AI sector. 

Baidu’s move to unveil Ernie Bot is remarkable, considering mastering Mandarin and local Chinese dialects involves extensive training. The existence of syntactic structure in the dialects makes it challenging to adapt AI models utilized in Western languages. 

Ernie Bot is realizing a critical milestone as OpenAI faces the New York Times (NYT) for alleged copyright infringement. The legacy media company cited NYT content in training OpenAI models without authorization. 

The media company argued that OpenAI and Microsoft AI models threaten to eradicate original journalism. Baidu is yet to face any charges alleging infringement of intellectual property when training Ernie Bot. 

Editorial credit: Ascannio /

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Michael Scott

By Michael Scott

Michael Scott is a skilled and seasoned news writer with a talent for crafting compelling stories. He is known for his attention to detail, clarity of expression, and ability to engage his readers with his writing.

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