In a significant milestone, Chinese tech giant Baidu proudly announced that its ChatGPT-like artificial intelligence product, Ernie bot, has now exceeded 100 million users. This achievement positions Baidu as a formidable player in the competitive landscape of chatbot technologies. The company’s shares saw a 3% uptick in U.S. trading, contributing to a mildly positive performance for Baidu in 2023.
The company, however, did not specify whether these numbers represent active users or pertain to a specific time period. In November, Microsoft-backed OpenAI revealed that its ChatGPT boasted approximately 100 million weekly active users, indicating the robust demand for such AI-driven conversational platforms.
Ernie bot, available for use in both English and its primary language, Chinese, mandates user registration with a China mobile number. Referred to as “Wenxinyiyan” in Mandarin Chinese, the app received regulatory approval for mass rollout in late August, aligning with several other local players.
Competing in the same arena, TikTok parent company ByteDance offers Doubao, a chatbot that 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 tech industry, have predominantly focused on AI products for business applications but also offer chatbots to the Chinese public. Tencent’s chatbot is integrated into its popular WeChat messaging and social media app.
In November, Baidu made a strategic move by introducing a subscription model for its advanced Ernie bot version, charging approximately $8 a month. This approach mirrors OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which levies a $20 monthly fee for accessing its latest available model.
The chatbot market competition underscores conversational AI’s growing significance in shaping user interactions and experiences.