Baidu and ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, have obtained permission from the Chinese government to launch artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots. This development comes as Beijing has started granting approvals for AI companies to introduce chatbots for widespread use. ByteDance, in particular, has been at the forefront of AI chatbot development in China, dedicating multiple teams to work on generative AI. As a result, they have successfully launched the Doubao chatbot.
However, ByteDance’s subsidiary, TikTok, has faced regulatory challenges in various countries due to privacy concerns. The United States, Europe, and Canada are considering banning TikTok over fears of sensitive data being shared with China.
In the race of AI development, Chinese companies like Baidu and ByteDance are now gearing up to compete with American AI giants such as Google and OpenAI. Tech analyst Boris Van suggests that China allowed the public rollout of AI chatbots because it has been falling behind its US counterparts. He believes that China is under pressure to make these models public as they are losing out to US companies, which continue to advance their algorithms by having a large user base.
In June 2023, it was reported that the US intends to restrict the export of AI chips to China, which are crucial for training AI models. Additionally, in August, the US government issued orders to ban private equity and venture capital firms from investing in China’s quantum computing, advanced chips, and AI companies.