China's generative AI surge

The generative AI market in China is poised for substantial growth, with projections indicating the sector could generate 10 trillion CNY in 2023 alone. With a significant uptick in adoption—currently around 15% and spearheaded by the retail and telecommunications industries—this trajectory sees China contributing a significant 30 trillion CNY to the global economy by 2035, which is expected to be a third of the world's total. [1]

Given these developments, China's recent advancements in generative AI warrant close attention. This is underscored by a new AI graphics card launch by a domestic GPU startup and the establishment of China's inaugural GPU computing hub, focused on training extensive language models. This centre can train a model comprising 130 billion parameters in just 56 days.

Parallel to these hardware advancements, the Shanghai AI Public Computing Platform "Shangzhuang" has recently become operational, offering a staggering 500 petaflops of computing power (with plans for an increase to 1,500 petaflops by early 2024) to mitigate the computing power shortage and accelerate AI development. This initiative is significant, considering it competes with the current world’s most powerful supercomputer, Frontier, developed by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which delivers a peak performance of approximately 1,700 petaflops. Interestingly, while the platform already boasts significant capacity, it has ambitions to transition to entirely green energy. [2][3]

Within this vibrant marketplace, an evaluative report by the China Electronics Standardization Institute has highlighted the progress of four significant generative AI models from leading tech giants that went through government assessment—360 Group, Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba. Baidu leads with the broadest user base, and Alibaba stands out for its open-source offering. While they are slightly behind ChatGPT, Baidu's CEO advocates their Ernie Bot 4.0 as a competitive equivalent to GPT-4. [4]

Highlighting user engagement, Baidu's ERNIE Bot has swiftly gained over 100 million users since its launch in July 2023, securing its position as China's premier AI chatbot per Super Clue's endorsement, notwithstanding a lower performance score than ChatGPT. [5]

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