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China approved over 40 AI models for public use since August 2023

An AI-powered humanoid during the process of thinking

Chinese regulators gave a green signal to 14 large language models (LLMs) for public use last week, including the likes of Xiaomi Corp, 01.AI, and 4Paradigm. Chinese state-back publication Securities Times reported (via Reuters) that Beijing has approved over 40 AI models since August last year, soon after it mandated an approval process for tech companies.

Companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, and ByteDance were among the initial beneficiaries, and the first batch of LLMs was approved soon after the Chinese regulators adopted the process. Chinese regulators approved two more batches of AI models in November and December before greenlighting the fourth batch last week.

These approvals are part of China's bigger efforts to keep up with the AI rat race, which started with the arrival of OpenAI ChatGPT in 2022. However, the government is yet to reveal the exact list of approved companies available for public checks, as per the publication.

Baidu announced its ChatGPT-like offering Ernie Bot in March last year and made it public in August. In December, the Chinese tech giant revealed that the chatbot attracted over 100 million users. Nonetheless, Ernie Bot is just one of the many AI-powered products and services that are in existence now.

Big tech giants and multinational behemoths like Google and Meta quickly jumped into the competition and contributed to an expanding list of LLMs, including Gemini, PaLM 2, Llama 2, and more. The South Korean giant Samsung also unveiled its first generative AI model named Gauss and baked some Galaxy AI features for its 2024 flagships.

OpenAI's GPT large language model was also the driving force behind Microsoft's Bing Chat, which was later rebranded to Copilot. A recent report suggests that Microsoft, a prominent backer of OpenAI, is working on a smaller and cheaper offering dubbed "smaller language model" (SLM). These models aim to offer generative AI capabilities while taking a smaller toll on hardware resources.

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