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Baidu Creates $140 Million Fund to Back ChatGPT-Like Startups

Baidu Inc. has created something like a fund to finance Chinese startups that specialize in research in the field of generative artificial intelligence.

Baidu Creates $140 Million Fund to Back ChatGPT-Like Startups

The company has allocated 1 billion yuan ($140 million) for these purposes. The firm thus joins the global investment campaign, which arose against the background of the hype around services like ChatGPT.

The leader of the Chinese Internet search industry intends to use the pool to incubate projects that are based on his Ernie AI model. The company will direct investments to the development of startups, the value of which does not exceed 10 million yuan. The relevant information is contained in the Baidu statement, which was published on Wednesday, May 31.

Venture investors, including IDG Capital, will accept proposals from the founders of startups and evaluate them. After that, applicants for financial support will have to submit demonstration products. Then a decision will be made on investing in a startup or refusing this action.

The incubation program unites one of the most famous Chinese companies investing in startups with a recognized leader in the field of artificial intelligence development. This is a clear example of the desire of the Chinese business community to invest in AI after the November debut of OpenAI ChatGPT became one of the most discussed topics around the world.

Baidu has released China’s first ChatGPT analog called Ernie Bot, provoking competition from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd. and SenseTime Group Inc. for the unveil platforms.

The Chinese Internet search leader and its venture partners will study the proposals of startups that will use Ernie to create their own services.

The founder of Baidu, Robin Lee, at an event last week, during which the upgrade of Ernie was announced, said that artificial intelligence models with a large number of languages will entail the creation of AI-based applications. He also said that his company will recycle all its products using advanced technologies. Separately, Robin Lee noted that in this case, what is meant is not the integration of artificial intelligence or access to it, but reworking and restructuring.

Ernie Bot’s capabilities in terms of competition with the popular WeChat from Tencent are still unclear. China’s Internet regulator has announced that a security check of generative artificial intelligence tools will be carried out before widespread use. US sanctions have left Chinese technology companies without the best chips to train AI models. This circumstance may cause a gap in development and quality between Chinese services like Ernie Bot and similar Western products.

In March, Robin Lee introduced Ernie Bot. He used a pre-recorded demo. The chatbot was positively evaluated by testers. At the same time, the financial indicators of this product show negative dynamics. The shares of the chatbot are declining by about 20% compared to the level of value that was recorded in February and still remains the maximum value for the elaboration of Baidu.

As we have reported earlier, Baidu Offers Driverless Taxi Services for Nighttime Passengers in China.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.