China’s largest search engine Baidu is developing ChatGPT-style AI

Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, has joined the next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) race. The company is developing a chatbot to rival Californian-based OpenAI’s ChatGPT, according to a source close to the company.

Rumours suggest the new service will be implemented into Baidu’s search services in March.

Launched last November, ChaptGPT became the world’s fastest-growing AI system when it reached one million users within five days. 

The open-source platform can chat, write essays and poems, or even generate lines of code based on a prompt. Baidu will be the first to present this type of AI to consumers in China, as state-censored internet blocks citizens from using services such as ChatGPT.

Tensions are escalating between America and China as both countries attempt to pioneer strategic emerging AI technologies. Over the past few years, Baidu has invested billions in natural-language processing, which AI technologies such as ChatGPT have developed from. The company has trained more than three million AI talents and will to train another two million over the next two years.

ChatGPT in China

Baidu’s algorithm, like ChatGPT, is based on a core breakthrough made by Google in 2017. In 2019, Baidu built a deep-learning model called Ernie from the same breakthrough. Ernie has reportedly made Baidu’s search results more accurate and relevant and will act as the foundation for its chatbot. 

The Chinese search engine isn’t alone in reacting quickly to the ChatGPT phenomenon, with Google also concerned about the rise of natural language processing platforms, according to the New York Times. The company is said to have declared a ‘code red’ and will introduce over 20 AI-related projects over the coming year, including Google Search powered by AI.

Microsoft is reportedly looking at implementing ChatGPT into its search engine Bing. ChatGPT developer OpenAI and Microsoft announced a multi-year, multibillion-dollar partnership earlier this month.

But Microsoft isn’t the only company with deep pockets. Last November, Baidu reported third-quarter revenues of 32.5B yuan ($4.6B), representing a year-on-year increase of 2%.

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Eoghan O'Donnell

Eogan was a freelance reporter for, covering technology news across hardware, innovation and security. Now based in London, he is proudly Irish and fluent in Gaeilge.