China’s Baidu Cancels Live Launch of 'Ernie Bot’

China’s Baidu Cancels Live Launch of 'Ernie Bot’

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: March 27, 2023

Chinese tech company Baidu cancelled the product launch of its ChatGPT-like “Ernie bot” originally scheduled Monday afternoon.  

The launch event was supposed to unveil a series of cloud services and applications that could be used alongside the Chinese chatbot.  

According to the search engine giant, cancelling the planned livestream was a way to satisfy the “strong demand” from the 120,000 companies that applied to test the generative AI technology 

Instead, Baidu has opted to transform the Ernie bot launch into a closed-door meeting, with the first batch of enterprises having access to beta testing. The company has also shared that more closed-door meetings will follow.  

After reports of the cancellation, Baidu shares listed in Hong Kong have fell by 4.5% on Monday. 

Baidu’s plans to create Ernie bot, China’s leading effort to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT, were first announced to the public last February. The technology is based on anEnhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration (Ernie) model that was first proposed in 2019 but according to the company has been under development for a decade. 

On March 16, Baidu CEO Robin Li held a livestream presentation of pre-recorded product demos showing journalists the different capabilities of its chatbot, but company shares dropped before the presentation even finished.

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