China is poised to witness a speedy growth in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, according to experts. This comes as Chinese tech heavyweights ramp up their efforts to develop their own AI-powered large language models amidst a global frenzy surrounding ChatGPT. Large language models are AI models fed huge amounts of text data for use in various tasks, such as natural language processing and machine translation. Experts suggest Chinese AI companies should pool more resources into improving computing power, algorithms, and data quality, as well as increase investment in basic scientific research in mathematics, statistics, and computer science to gain a competitive edge in the race to develop chatbots.
Despite the proliferation of ChatGPT-style products and related AI technology, concerns about ethical problems, data security, and privacy leaks have emerged. Thus, it is highly important to establish regulations to promote the healthy advancement of such fast-developing technology.
Interest in generative AI, which refers to algorithms trained with massive amounts of data that can generate content such as images and text, has surged since the release of ChatGPT. Chinese tech giants, including Alibaba and Baidu, have begun rolling out ChatGPT-style products and services. Alibaba recently unveiled its AI-powered large language model, Tongyi Qianwen, a potential rival to ChatGPT. The company plans to integrate it into all its applicable businesses in the near future.
Other Chinese tech companies have also jumped onto the chatbot bandwagon. Tencent is developing its ChatGPT-like chatbot, while e-commerce giant JD will launch its new-generation large model dubbed ChatJD, a ChatGPT-like product for industrial use, later this year.
Data from the International Data Corp show that China’s spending on AI will likely hit $14.75 billion this year, accounting for about one-tenth of the global market. The scale of China’s AI market is expected to reach $26.44 billion in 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 20% from 2021 to 2026. However, Chinese AI enterprises still lag behind leading foreign competitors in core technologies and fundamental research and development in key fields such as chips and basic components.