Is Baidu’s Ernie Bot the next retail super app? Luxury take note

The battle for AI supremacy heats up in China as Baidu, Tencent and others release their own chatbots. 

Baidu’s Ernie chatbot has moved out in front of the six AI models released to the public by Chinese tech companies last week after the Chinese government cleared them for consumers to use.

It became the most-downloaded free app on Apple’s app store on August 31, amassing over one million users on the first day it was available. However, Bloomberg ranked the bots according to their ability to complete everyday tasks, placing Meituan’s Zhipu ahead.

Tencent, ByteDance, Meituan, SenseTime and Baichuan also released chatbots featuring the same conversational UI as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Users can download the apps freely.

With companies the world over, including Kering, Zegna and Zalando, betting big on AI to propel luxury consumption, brands will need to get to grips with these new AI tools, all potential candidates to be the next super app, especially as ChatGPT is blocked in China.

Quest for supremacy

In the West, brands have mostly been using OpenAI’s ChatGPT. For instance, buy-now-pay-later business Klarna and grocery delivery Instacart have both made ChatGPT plugins available to facilitate shopping. Similar services will likely follow in China.

China strictly regulates AI services and products, and AI models are subject to a licensing regime. Though comparative latecomers to the AI party, the newly released chatbots fuel the debate on whether the US or China will lead the world on key technology. Continue to read the full article here

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