Baidu founder Robin Li claims that Baidu’s latest AI model, Ernie 4.0, is now on par with OpenAI’s GPT-4, marking a significant leap in Chinese AI capabilities. During a recent presentation in Beijing, Ernie 4.0 demonstrated its prowess in offering real-time responses and solving intricate problems on the go. According to Li, Ernie’s complexity and general capabilities are on par with OpenAI’s chatbot, despite having significantly fewer users—45 million compared to ChatGPT’s 180 million. Baidu is pinning its hopes on AI to regain its market share in China, challenging major local players like Alibaba and Tencent.
A New Contender in the AI Arena
Assessing the true potential of AI models is a complex task. During the presentation, Ernie Bot answered real-time questions about the real estate market, tackled math problems, and even composed a story set in the world of ancient martial arts at a user’s command. Just a few months earlier, the platform’s capabilities were notably weaker, initially limited to video recordings. By June, Baidu proudly declared its neural network to be on par with the GPT-3.5 model and even outperforming GPT-4.0 in specific tasks related to the Chinese language.
Baidu’s Ambitions in the Chinese Market
Baidu aims to regain its lost market share in China, which has been overtaken by super apps like ByteDance and Tencent, notes NIXsolutions. Ernie is now integrated into flagship products such as web search, maps, file sharing, collaboration, and data analytics. The chatbot app, Ernie, briefly claimed the top spot as China’s most popular iPhone app with over a million downloads on its launch day but was soon overtaken by Tencent’s WeChat messaging app, the reigning leader in the local market.