Tencent working on ChatGPT wannabe, says senior VP at forum

The race is on to rush out China's equivalent of ChatGPT, now in the latest edition GPT-4, as this tool has dazzled large swathes of China's tech and business community with its ability to enhance efficiency.

Tech giant Tencent (腾讯, HK: 0700) is developing its own ChatGPT-like application, a senior Tencent executive told media on March 30.

At the Boao Forum for Asia that closed yesterday, Tang Daosheng, senior executive vice president and CEO of the cloud and smart industry business group, revealed to journalists that the Shenzhen-headquartered behemoth is working on its version of ChatGPT.

This revelation came as Baidu and Alibaba, two other tech titans, have confirmed their commitment to developing their answers to OpenAI’s phenomenal ChatGPT. Baidu even rolled out its Ernie Bot in mid-March, amid fanfare and hype surrounding the disruptive technologies.

Despite its “late mover” disadvantage, similar research work is underway at Tencent, Tang revealed.

Asked whether it will integrate its own ChatGPT-like program with instant messaging services QQ and WeChat, or deploy it to corporate customers via Tencent Cloud, Tang said “both will happen.”

The race is on to rush out China’s equivalent of ChatGPT, now in the latest edition GPT-4, as this tool has dazzled large swathes of China’s tech and business community with its ability to enhance efficiency.

AI technologies, represented by ChatGPT, will significantly improve work efficiency and accelerate the growth of cloud computing, because of its demand for computing power, said Tang.

“Large language model has high demand for computing power and high-speed network,” he explained. “Meanwhile, AI must build on cloud services to realize easy, real-time application. AI’s integration with cloud services will have huge implications for its growth space and mode of development.”

Tencent’s AI large model now covers natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, multimodel deep learning and other functions. It is now being applied to assist in-app search on WeChat and drive Tencent’s ad business.

The goal is to improve the search experience and accuracy of ad recommendations.

Tencent executives said on an earnings call last week that AI and LLM have been an augmentor for the group’s whole business.

Tencent has been financing research on AI for a long time. It labels itself as a long-term investor of LLM.

Right now, the focus is on perfecting technologies and then applying them across the entire product line of Tencent, its executives said on the earnings call.

Tang’s remarks at the forum echoed this stance. “AIGC will boost our producitivity. In the past, internet content and services are supplied by humans,” he noted. “Going forward, machines will generate content and offer services. The supply-demand relationship will also change accordingly.”

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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