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Baidu’s Ernie Chatbot Reaches 100 Million Users

Baidu chatbot

Baidu’s Ernie artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot has reportedly amassed 100 million-plus users.

The Chinese internet company announced that milestone at a Thursday (Dec. 28) deep learning summit in Beijing, Reuters reported.

Baidu launched Ernie in August after the Chinese government gave some tech companies the go-ahead to release their AI chatbots to the public.

Prior to that, Ernie was only offered to a small pool of test users following a limited launch. ByteDance, best known for its social media platform TikTok, also introduced its Doubao AI chatbot to the public at the same time.

“The launch of these AI chatbots is significant for ByteDance and Baidu as they aim to enhance their business models and increase advertising revenue,” PYMNTS wrote in August. “Baidu founder and CEO Robin Li stated that the public rollout of Ernie will allow the company to collect real-world human feedback, which will help improve the chatbot at a faster pace.”

China’s new rules for AI, a collection of 24 guidelines, went into effect in August and represented the first move by a major economy to regulate the AI industry.

The Reuters report says that analysts say that early debut was underwhelming, but still let Baidu be the first Chinese tech company to launch a chatbot in a market that has since become crowded.

Reuters also notes that Ernie’s launch followed the debut of Open AI’s ChatGPT which became the world’s fastest-growing software application within six months of launch. Late last month, the company announced the ChatGPT mobile app had been downloaded more than 110 million times and generated $28.6 million in consumer spending worldwide.

These AI-related milestones come at the end of a year that has seen AI transform the economy, including the payments industry, as noted here Thursday.

“While the payments industry has been a latecomer to the financial technology revolution, AI promises to transform workflows from customer service to back-office automation, where resource-heavy processes and endless manual reconciliations offer wins for machine-led optimizations,” that report said.

As Form3 CEO Michael Mueller said in an interview with PYMNTS in October, “payments are still an exciting growth business, despite the fact that they’ve been around for so long.”