Chinese tech giant Baidu is setting up a $145 million or 1 billion yuan venture capital fund to back AI-focused startups. Baidu co-founder and CEO Robin Li announced the fund’s launch at the JP Morgan summit in China this week.
The move could signal China’s commitment to independence in the harsh generative AI space. The foundation will support the development and innovation of AI-based content creation, including chatbots, video and audio synthesis, and natural language processing.
The fund targets early-stage AI applications, an area where Chinese generative AI startups have struggled to gain traction so far.
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Open AI rrecently launched an investment fund worth more than $175 million, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The company invests in start-ups, OpenAI Startup Fund Supporting companies that “push the boundaries of what powerful AI can do to positively impact the world.”
Baidu will also allow developers to build applications using the Ernie Large Language Model (LLM), or use existing We are planning to start a race to integrate it into our products.
Ernie bot is Baidu’s own AI-powered LLM that can generate natural and consistent text based on user input.
“American developers are building new applications based on ChatGPT or other language models. In China, we will see more developers building AI applications based on Ernie.” Lee said..
Baidu launched the chatbot in March of this year, claiming it outperformed other LLMs on some benchmarks.
The battle for AI supremacy
The success of ChatGPT has put pressure on Chinese tech companies to rush their LLM releases to market.
according to Reuters Since 2020, there are over 75 Chinese companies that have already released their own LLMs. Baidu and his e-commerce giant Alibaba are among these companies.
a report More than 79 LLMs have been launched in the past three years, according to a state-owned research firm.
And Baidu’s president predicts that in the age of generative AI, Chinese companies will catch up and even take the lead in discovering commercial applications of AI.
“I am very bullish on China’s AI development. Over the past decades, China has warmly embraced new technologies,” Li said.
“Although we did not invent Android, iOS, or Windows, we have developed many highly innovative applications such as WeChat, Douyin, and Didi, many of which are popular and useful. Technology offers a myriad of possibilities, and we are good at capturing them and building applications,” Lee explained.
LLM, Critical Technology
LLM is regarded as a key technology for enhancing AI applications and services as it can create realistic and diverse materials across different subjects and formats. However, it also comes with ethical and legal issues, such as potential for abuse, plagiarism, and bias. In response to the surge in LLMs, China released draft regulations on the use of generative AI in April, requiring developers to obtain approval and explicitly label such products.
The growth and adoption of AI-based content creation in China and elsewhere is expected to be fueled by Baidu’s venture capital funds and competition.
An article about Baidu launching a $145 million venture capital AI fund first appeared on MetaNews.