Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings have joined to $300 million financing for Baichuan, a Chinese startup operating in the sphere of artificial intelligence and seeking, like many other local firms, to benefit from the rapid growth of interest in developing AI-based services like ChatGPT.
The manufacturer of smartphones, laptops, and other devices Xiaomi also took part in an early round of financing of the mentioned company, which was launched in April by the founder of the Sogou search engine.
Currently, the number of employees of the startup is more than 170 people, including former workers of Google, Huawei Technologies, and Tencent. Baichuan is one of the most well-known Chinese companies at an early stage of existence, which is engaged in the development of technologies and services of machine intelligence. The startup strives to compete with such giants of the advanced industry as Microsoft and the OpenAI supported by it.
In China, technology companies are currently channeling multibillion-dollar funding for training and development of artificial intelligence services. This trend is a reflection of the global surge in interest in AI, which can be symbolically compared to the wave that covered Silicon Valley.
The billionaire founder of Baidu, Robin Li, announced on October 17 that the large language model created by his company’s specialists has caught up with OpenAI’s GPT-4 in terms of capabilities and level of efficiency. The machine intelligence configuration developed by the mentioned Chinese brand claims to participate in the international AI race.
Baichuan became one of the first firms to receive Beijing’s approval for the public implementation of artificial intelligence systems. The company has released four open-source large language models. This firm operates on two proprietary platforms. This is stated in the official statement of the startup. Two of the company’s open-source models have been downloaded 6 million times.
Wang Xiaochuan, who named the startup after the Chinese phrase meaning one hundred rivers, said this year during a conversation with media representatives that China may need years to catch up with the United States as part of the machine intelligence race.
Artificial intelligence is a technology, the scale of the consequences of the use of which goes beyond one sphere. AI has the potential to transform entire industries. Experts are convinced that machine intelligence configurations can change the state of affairs and deep processes in many spheres of vital activity, including in the media, the financial sector, and the transport area. Also, according to analysts, the active use of machine intelligence has the potential to stimulate economic growth. Another area of applying advanced technology is government activities. The military sphere is also a space for the use of artificial intelligence.
China’s ability to compete in the machine intelligence industry is affected by the sanctions of the United States, which restrict the access of companies from this Asian country to advanced chips necessary for training and launching AI models. Washington is gradually tightening these sanctions.