HONG KONG – Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing unit of Chinese technology giant Alibaba Group, announced on Tuesday that it will be launching its own version of the popular AI chatbot, ChatGPT. The new product, Tongyi Qianwen, will initially be deployed on DingTalk, Alibaba’s workplace communication software, and Tmall Genie, a provider of smart home appliances.
Shares of Alibaba in Hong Kong rose more than 3% after the announcement, although the gains were later pared down. Meanwhile, shares of Baidu in Hong Kong were down 6%.
At the 2023 Alibaba Cloud Summit, the company announced that the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot will be rolled out into all Alibaba products, from enterprise communication to e-commerce, in “the near future,” although no specific timeline was revealed. The chatbot will be integrated across Alibaba’s various businesses to improve the user experience and will be fine-tuned with proprietary information and data from clients, reducing resources and costs for these companies.
“We hope to facilitate businesses from all industries with their intelligence transformation and, ultimately, help boost their business productivity, expand their expertise and capabilities while unlocking more exciting opportunities through innovations,” said Jingren Zhou, CTO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
Alibaba Cloud will offer its clients access to Tongyi Qianwen on the cloud and help them build customized large language models. Developers in China can also apply for beta testing of Tongyi Qianwen to create their AI applications at scale.
Alibaba is the latest Chinese technology giant to reveal plans for a ChatGPT rival, following Baidu’s announcement of its own version, Ernie Bot, in March. The company has maintained its position as the third leading public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider globally since 2018, according to International Data Corporation, and is also the world’s third leading and Asia Pacific’s leading IaaS provider by revenue in U.S. dollars since 2018, according to technology research firm Gartner.