What Is Baidu’s Ernie Bot AI? The ChatGPT Rival Explained

The Baidu AI chatbot has officially surpassed 200 million users worldwide, according to company CEO Robin Li.

Who’s keeping track of all these AI chatbots anyway? Chinese technology giant Baidu, apparently, after it revealed that its relatively new ChatGPT alternative called Ernie Bot was already one of the most popular chatbots in the world.

ChatGPT is obviously the golden child of the AI chatbot world, but that may not be the case for long. Competitors like Google Gemini and Microsoft Copilot have demonstrated that there is a lot of wiggle room at the top, and with the technology in its infancy, it’s still anyone’s game.

That is clearly the case aboard, as well, with the CEO of Baidu claiming that Ernie Bot has more users than the chatbot from OpenAI.

What Is Ernie Bot?

Ernie Bot is the AI chatbot from Baidu, a China-based tech company that is considered one of the largest in the world.

The name stands for Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration and it has been in development since 2019. However, the current iteration is, of course, based on large language model technology, with the Ernie 4.0 being the most recent iteration from the company.

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Most notably, Ernie Bot is the first locally developed AI chatbot from China, bringing the ChatGPT style technology to the East Asian country. This is notable, as China requires all AI technology to be approved before development can begin.

How Popular Is Ernie Bot?

AI chatbots like Ernie Bot have become increasingly popular over the last year, with users flocking to these platforms to improve productivity and generally make life easier at work.

This is clearly the case for Ernie Bot, with CEO Robin Li coming out recently to state that the Baidu AI chatbot has officially surpassed 200 million users worldwide. This number represents a doubling of users since December, pointing to the AI chatbot making a significant impact for the company.

And it’s not just users, either. Ernie is also reportedly contributing to the revenue of the company by transforming its advertising and helping other companies with their models, to the tune of “several hundred million” yuan.

AI Chatbot Arms Race Continues

Ernie Bot may be a great AI chatbot, but given that the writers for Tech.co are based in the US and the UK, we won’t know for sure. The service is only available in China, which means we won’t be able to compare it to some of our favorites.

However, in our research, we found that the best AI chatbot right now is hard to nail down, due to the early stages of the technology. Still, there are certainly some frontrunners that warrant your attention.

ChatGPT is obviously still quite proficient, and with new features being added on a consistent basis, it’s safe to say it’s a good choice. Google Gemini is also quite popular, as its integration with Google services makes it very convenient. Claude is another good option if you want to avoid some of the larger tech firms, as it provides a more “ethical” approach to the technology.

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Written by:
Conor is the Lead Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.
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