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Chinese AI startup, Baichuan, recently unveiled a $300M funding round, marking a significant milestone in the country’s race towards AI innovation.

Investors in the round included influential Chinese tech heavyweights Alibaba and Tencent, as well as smartphone manufacturer, Xiaomi.

  • Prior Funding: Baichuan had previously secured an early investment, termed in an angel round amounting to $50M.
  • Stamp of Approval: The company is one of the first to receive China’s green light for public chatbot release in late August.
  • Team Strength: The company has a team of over 170 professionals. The workforce comprises engineers with experiences spanning across global tech giants like Google, Huawei Technologies Co., and Tencent, as cited by the company in an official statement.
  • Background: The surge in China’s AI industry has seen a wave of product releases and funding announcements from startups and tech giants alike, with everyone aiming to create a domestic alternative to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which is backed by Microsoft.
  • Other Ventures: Baichuan’s founder, Wang Xiaochuan, is also the founder of internet search engine, Sogou Inc.

In a parallel development, Baidu, another player in the Chinese tech sector, launched its generative AI model, Ernie 4.0. Baidu claimed this new model’s capabilities match those of OpenAI’s GPT-4, although industry analysts have cautioned that the launch lacked major highlights as compared to the previous version.

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