China Has Yet To Have Its 'ChatGPT Moment,' Says Billionaire Startup Founder Kai-Fu Lee Who Is Launching Consumer-Oriented AI App Wanzhi

To bolster China’s artificial intelligence sector, renowned AI pioneer and founder of Beijing-based startup — 01.AIKai-Fu Lee is launching the company’s first consumer AI application.

What Happened: The new app, named Wanzhi, is designed to enhance productivity for users in the Chinese market. It can assist with tasks such as creating spreadsheets, documents, and slide presentations, interpreting financial reports, and providing summaries of lengthy texts, reported Bloomberg.

In an interview with the publication, Lee, 62, highlighted the necessity for China to develop its version of ChatGPT, the chatbot released by OpenAI in 2022. ChatGPT is currently prohibited in China.

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“For Americans, the moment happened 17 months ago,” he said, adding, “China's users didn't have a ChatGPT moment. Until now, none of the Chinese chatbots or tools have been good enough.”

Lee, who previously worked with Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, took over as CEO of 01.AI last year. The startup, which reached a $1 billion valuation within eight months, is also introducing a proprietary large language model called Yi-Large, aimed at enterprise users.

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Why It Matters: The launch of Wanzhi is a significant move in China’s AI landscape, which has seen fierce competition and regulatory challenges. The country’s AI sector has been striving to catch up with U.S. firms, which have been leading in generative AI.

Chinese tech giants like Baidu Inc. BIDU and ByteDance Ltd. have also been investing heavily in developing their own AI models and chatbot services. Last month, it was reported that Baidu’s AI chatbot, Ernie Bot, has amassed over 200 million users.

However, the sector has also faced challenges in the country. This includes the U.S. considering regulations to restrict China’s access to advanced AI software, and the suspension of ByteDance by OpenAI for using GPT to train its own competing AI model.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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