Prominent Chinese technology companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, are backing Zhipu, an emerging artificial intelligence startup aimed at rivaling American giant OpenAI. Zhipu has successfully secured over 2.5 billion Chinese yuan (approximately $341 million) in funding this year, as announced by the company.
High-profile venture capital firms like Sequoia and Hillhouse are among Zhipu’s backers, and corporate investors such as Xiaomi, Alibaba, and Tencent have also joined the initiative.
Zhipu is part of China’s growing cohort of promising startups dedicated to developing AI models trained on extensive datasets, poised to support various applications. In August, Zhipu unveiled a generative AI chatbot based on its models, highlighting its capabilities in responding to user prompts with generated answers.
OpenAI, the U.S.-based firm renowned for ChatGPT, a widely recognized AI chatbot, has significantly contributed to mainstreaming AI chatbot technology.
The disclosure of Zhipu’s investors coincides with the ongoing tech rivalry between the U.S. and China, with artificial intelligence occupying a pivotal role in the competition.
China considers AI a critical technology for economic growth and aims to boost its computing power by 50% by 2025 to facilitate the development of AI applications.
In contrast, the U.S. has imposed restrictions on China’s access to essential technologies needed for AI model development.
Last year, the U.S. implemented regulations that limited Nvidia from selling its top-tier A100 and H100 graphics processing units to China.
Recently, these rules were expanded to cover additional Nvidia chips. Nvidia is a market leader in graphics processing units, crucial for training AI models requiring extensive data processing.
Zhipu stands among numerous Chinese startups committed to advancing the country’s AI sector, many of which enjoy support from China’s tech giants.
Baichuan, another AI startup, recently announced raising around $300 million from investors, including Alibaba and Tencent.
Simultaneously, tech giants Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu are actively developing their AI models and launching products built on this technology, positioning China for a dynamic future in AI innovation.
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