Baidu's Ernie Bot Joins Apple's Mainland App Store, Amplifying AI Chatbot Competition
Baidu's Ernie Bot, the second local alternative to ChatGPT, enters Apple's App Store, intensifying AI chatbot rivalry in China.
Baidu's Ernie Bot has made its debut on Apple's mainland App Store, following iFlytek's Spark, increasing the competition among AI chatbots in China. Launched in March, Ernie Bot secured a spot in the productivity apps category, with a solid rating of 4.2 out of 5 based on 248 user ratings as of Wednesday.
Developed by Beijing Baidu Netcom Science & Technology Co, Ernie Bot is free to download but restricted to users who gained test qualification on the web version. New users need to apply online to gain access. However, due to regulatory restrictions, Ernie Bot remains in trial mode, requiring an additional permit for full functionality after download.
Generative AI, which encompasses algorithms capable of creating new content, including text, images and audio, holds immense potential to revolutionise content creation. Despite this, the Chinese government has imposed limitations on Ernie Bot and other AI chatbots on Apple's China App Store, reflecting regulators' concerns regarding the disruptive power of generative AI.
China's Cyberspace Administration has yet to issue licenses for any generative AI products, including those offered by Baidu, Alibaba Group Holding and iFlytek. The introduction of a draft AI law for review by lawmakers is expected later this year, as China aims to lead in establishing regulations for this rapidly advancing technology.
Baidu has taken a step further by embedding the beta version of its "AI Mate" chatbot service within its flagship search engine. Comparable to Microsoft Corp's Bing Chat, AI Mate employs technology derived from Ernie Bot. Baidu has not announced a specific timeline for the official launch of Ernie Bot on smartphones.
In contrast, OpenAI released its mobile version of ChatGPT for iOS devices in the US and other countries. However, Baidu claims that Ernie Bot's underlying large language model, Ernie 3.5, has outperformed ChatGPT 3.5 in comprehensive ability tests and even surpassed ChatGPT 4 in various Chinese-language capabilities.
Baidu's Ernie Bot becomes the second local alternative to ChatGPT listed on Apple's mainland App Store.
Ernie Bot holds a solid rating of 4.2 out of 5 based on user ratings.
Users require test qualification or application to access Ernie Bot, which remains in trial mode.