(Bloomberg) -- Jack Ma-backed Ant Group Co. is developing large-language model technology that will power ChatGPT-style services, joining a list of Chinese companies seeking to win an edge in next-generation artificial intelligence.
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The project known as “Zhen Yi” is being created by a dedicated unit and will deploy in-house research. An Ant spokesperson confirmed the news which was first reported by Chinastarmarket.cn
Ant is racing against companies including its affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Inc. and SenseTime Group Inc. Their efforts mirror developments in US where Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Microsoft Corp. are exploring generative AI, which can create original content from poetry to art just with simple user prompts.
AI has become the next big arena for tech competition between China and the US, raising concerns over whether Chinese companies will be able to retain reliable access to the high-end chips needed to develop large-scale AI models in the long run.
Ant invested nearly 20.5 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) in R&D last year, doubling the company’s annual spending on such efforts compared with 2019. The company is strengthening tech for distributed databases, computer infrastructure, blockchain, privacy computing and network security.
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