As China speeds up the deployment of AI, Chinese tech company Baidu launched its artificial intelligence (AI) product on Thursday alongside other domestic tech companies.
China’s top online search engine, Baidu, announced in a statement that its AI chatbot Ernie Bot, which resembles ChatGPT, would be completely accessible to the general public.
Two AI startups, Zhipu AI and Baichuan Intelligent Technology, also announced that their chatbots would go live on Thursday.
All three claimed that the government had approved their products.
China requires companies to submit security assessments and obtain clearance before releasing mass-market AI products, in contrast to Western nations where this is not required, according to Reuters.
As AI increasingly becomes a focus of competition with the US, authorities have recently increased efforts to support companies in their development.
Chinese media reported that a total of 11 firms had received approvals from the government, including TikTok maker ByteDance and SenseTime Group. Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.
Regulatory approvals were widely anticipated after China published a set of interim rules aimed at regulating generative AI products for the public that went into effect on August 15.
Previously, companies were only allowed to conduct small-scale public tests of AI products but with the new rules, companies have widened their AI product tests by enabling more features and engaging in more marketing.