Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, plans to launch its own generative artificial intelligence (AI) product to rival the success of US company, OpenAI’s, ChatGPT.

On 11th April, 2023, Alibaba Cloud unveiled its large language model, Tongyi Qianwen, which the company will integrate across its business to create AI features for both customers and developers.

Alibaba’s announcement comes as Big Tech companies around the world have joined the race to develop the world’s pre-eminent AI chatbot. The runaway success of OpenAI’s, ChatGPT, launched in November 2022, has been hailed a significant inflection point in global technology development.

The company to succeed in developing the world’s leading chatbot product will guarantee its position in the future tech economy. AI chatbots have the potential for ground-breaking applications for enterprises and individuals, through translation, copywriting creation and summarisation as well as the curation and compiling of images.

Microsoft has made significant investments in OpenAI’s ChatGPT which the company integrated into its search engine, Bing, in February, 2023. The company has also announced plans to roll the feature into its suite of Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Google and China’s Baidu, are also said to be working on their own large language models to launch generative AI products to challenge OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Mike Rhodes, founder and CEO of UK based, ConsultMyApp, says that Alibaba is just the latest in the long line of businesses that is going to be chasing the innovation and success that Open AI is currently reeling in.

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“No one can fault Alibaba for wanting to jump on the innovation surrounding AI. With its experience in the technology sector, it will be interesting to see if the company go for a straight replica of Open AI or whether it tries to expand into a new direction that utilises generative AI for new purposes,” says Rhodes.

Alibaba’s Tongyi Qianwen is based on Tongyi, the company’s proprietary large language model framework that unifies various AI models, including models that can turn text into images and short videos, according to the company. Last year, Alibaba Cloud launched ModelScope, an open-source model-as-a-service platform with hundreds of AI models, including a Tongyi-based text-to-image model for global developers and researchers.

Jingren Zhou, CTO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said: “We are witnessing a new paradigm of AI development where cloud and AI models play an essential role. By making this paradigm more inclusive, 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.”