Hong Kong CNN —
Chinese search engine giant Baidu says it will be launching its own ChatGPT-style service.
It will launch a new artificial intelligence chatbot called “Wenxin Yiyan” in Chinese, or “Ernie Bot” in English, a spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday.
Baidu (BIDU) is currently testing the project internally and will likely roll out the service to users in March, the person said.
The company did not provide further details, such as how the tool would look or whether it would appear as a feature within its popular search engine.
Baidu’s AI investments can be seen as “both an offensive and defensive strategic move in China,” Daniel Ives, managing director of Wedbush Securities, told CNN. “Chinese Big Tech is battling in this AI race, with Baidu [being] a key player.”
The news follows Google’s announcement Monday that it would unveil a new chatbot tool dubbed “Bard” in an apparent bid to compete with the viral success of ChatGPT.
In a blog post, Google (GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai said Bard was opened up to “trusted testers” starting Monday, with plans to make it available to the public “in the coming weeks.”
Like ChatGPT, which was released publicly in late November by AI research company OpenAI, Bard is built on a large language model.
These models are trained on vast troves of data online in order to generate compelling responses to user prompts.
In the two months since it launched, ChatGPT has been used to generate essays, stories and song lyrics, and to answer some questions one might previously have searched for on Google.
Microsoft (MSFT), too, is investing billions of dollars in OpenAI. Details of the investment are set to be announced later on Tuesday, with the tie-up estimated to be in the $10 billion range, according to Ives.
The deal “is a game changer in our opinion for Nadella & Co as the ChatGPT bot is one of the most innovative AI technologies in the world today,” he wrote in a Monday note, referring to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
— CNN’s Catherine Thorbecke and Juliana Liu contributed to this report.