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ByteDance Unveils Low-Cost Doubao AI Models, Sparking Price War in China's Competitive LLM Market

Updated: May 23

TikTok owner ByteDance has launched low-cost Doubao AI models, potentially sparking a price war in the mainland market. The Doubao LLM family consists of eight versions, offering competitive pricing compared to industry rivals. ByteDance aims to capture a significant share of China's AI market, where companies are increasingly adopting GenAI tools.

These large language models (LLMs), which power services like ChatGPT, are priced lower than those offered by industry rivals. The Doubao LLM family consists of eight versions, including the high-end Doubao Pro and the entry-level Doubao Lite. ByteDance made the announcement at an event in Beijing.


Tan Dai, president of ByteDance's cloud computing services unit Volcano Engine, revealed that the Doubao Pro LLM can be used for as low as 0.0008 yuan (0.011 US cents) per 1,000-token prompt. In comparison, OpenAI's GPT-4 model is priced at 0.42 yuan per 1,000-token prompt, making the Doubao LLMs 99.8% cheaper. Baidu's Ernie LLM and Alibaba Group Holding's Tongyi Qianwen charge 0.12 yuan for every 1,000-token prompt.


ByteDance's aggressive pricing strategy for its Doubao LLMs reflects the growing opportunities in China's AI market. With an increasing number of companies, including startups, tech giants, and state-owned enterprises, adopting GenAI tools to enhance productivity, ByteDance aims to capture a significant market share. LLMs, trained on vast amounts of data, are revolutionising applications such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and content-generating tools.


Currently, there are over 200 China-developed LLMs in the market, with more than 40 government-approved LLMs and related AI applications. ByteDance's entry into the low-cost LLM segment could potentially trigger a price war among mainland providers, challenging Baidu's dominance.


In addition to the Doubao LLM initiative, ByteDance also announced other AI-related efforts. This includes an enterprise version of its Coze platform, allowing users to customise chatbots. The company also unveiled an "intelligent device LLM alliance" with smartphone giants Samsung Electronics, Xiaomi, and Honor, as well as an "automobile LLM ecosystem alliance" with local carmakers Geely and Great Wall Motor. ByteDance's focus on AI demonstrates its determination to compete and succeed in this sector.


While ByteDance's Doubao app has gained over 26 million monthly active users, the company still has ground to cover in the mainland's LLM market segment. Alibaba's Tongyi Qianwen LLM, also known as Qwen, has already been adopted by more than 90,000 corporate clients across various industries.

 
  • TikTok owner ByteDance has launched low-cost Doubao AI models, potentially sparking a price war in the mainland market.

  • The Doubao LLM family consists of eight versions, offering competitive pricing compared to industry rivals.

  • ByteDance aims to capture a significant share of China's AI market, where companies are increasingly adopting GenAI tools.


Source: SCMP

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