China’s Baidu hits 200m users

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

China’s tech giant, Baidu on Tuesday announced that its artificial intelligence chatbot, “Ernie Bot,” has amassed an impressive user base of over 200 million individuals.

This milestone comes as Baidu aims to solidify its position as the leading ChatGPT-like chatbot in China amidst escalating competition in the market.

Since its launch to the public eight months ago, Ernie Bot has witnessed a significant surge in its user count, roughly doubling from the last update provided by the company in December.

Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li, revealed that Ernie Bot’s application programming interface is being utilized a staggering 200 million times every day, indicating the frequency with which users engage the chatbot for various tasks.

During a conference in Shenzhen, Li also disclosed that Ernie Bot has garnered a substantial client base of 85,000 enterprises. This underscores the widespread adoption and utilization of the chatbot across various industries.

In February, Li informed analysts that Baidu had commenced generating revenue from Ernie Bot. The company leverages AI technology not only to enhance its advertising services but also to assist other businesses in developing their own AI models. In the fourth quarter alone, Baidu reported earning several hundred million yuan from these endeavors.

Ernie Bot made headlines last March as the first domestically developed ChatGPT-like chatbot announced in China. However, it was only granted approval for public release in August, becoming one of the initial eight AI chatbots approved by Beijing.

Unlike many other countries, China mandates companies to obtain approval before launching generative AI services.

Despite Ernie Bot’s initial dominance, recent data indicates a growing threat from rival domestic AI services, particularly Moonshot AI’s “Kimi” chatbot. Kimi, backed by Alibaba and merely a year old, is rapidly closing the gap with Ernie Bot in terms of user engagement.

In March, Ernie Bot recorded a total of 14.9 million visits across its app and website, while Kimi trailed closely behind with 12.6 million visits. Notably, Kimi’s growth outpaced that of Ernie Bot, with visits skyrocketing by 321.6% compared to the previous month, whereas Ernie Bot witnessed a still respectable increase of over 48%.

However, despite the fierce competition in the Chinese market, domestic generative AI services still lag behind their Western counterparts on a global scale. OpenAI’s ChatGPT remains the world’s most popular generative AI service, boasting a total traffic volume of 1.86 billion views last month, according to

China’s accelerated approvals for AI services reflect its recognition of AI as a pivotal sector in which it must compete with the United States. State media recently reported that 117 large AI models have received approvals thus far, underscoring China’s commitment to fostering innovation and competitiveness in the AI industry.

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