Chinese technology giant Tencent Dowson Tong, CEO of Tencent’s cloud and smart industries group, told CNBC in an exclusive interview before the event that the company will unveil its “Hunyuan” artificial intelligence model for business use at an annual summit on Thursday.
The news comes days later Baidu unveiled a series of AI-powered applications on Tuesday as part of supportive regulation.
Tencent has said it is testing its Hunyuan AI model internally in advertising and fintech. The gaming and social media giant will also release an AI chatbot on Thursday, the company said in a statement Online post.
Tencent is integrating Hunyuan’s capabilities into its existing video conferencing and social media products, Tong told CNBC.
The company operates WeChat, a messaging and payment app widely used in China, and the video conferencing platform Tencent Meeting.
Baidu and several other Chinese companies received the green light to make AI-powered chatbots available to the public in recent weeks.
Similar to ChatGPT, the bots claim to respond to queries in a human-like, conversational manner – although primarily in Chinese. Some, like Baidu’s Ernie bot, also convert text to images and videos using plugins.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT is not officially available in China. The chatbot releases follow China’s new generative AI regulation, which came into force on August 15th.
When asked about the rules, Tong pointed out that such artificial intelligence is so new that no one knows what impact it will have on society.
“It is advisable to put some guard rails in place,” he said. This will help ensure that the technology or services offered are of sufficiently high quality so that false information is not created and spread, he said.
Chinese authorities said the “interim” rules, which came into force last month, would not apply to companies developing the AI technology until the product is available to the general public.
This is more relaxed than a draft published in April, which said that the future rules would already apply in the research phase.
While Beijing has shown that it is more supportive of generative AI than initially feared, Chinese companies are also facing this challenge US restrictions on the procurement of advanced semiconductors. The most modern versions of high-tech chips, called graphics processing units (GPUs), enable companies to train AI models.
“The constraints we face will hinder the progress and speed of development,” Tong told CNBC in response to a question about it US restrictions.
He noted that overall demand for computing power far exceeds supply in China. To mitigate the shortage, he said companies are “focusing on specific use cases and building models at the appropriate size.”
“And we hope that the range of GPU computers will become larger in the coming months and that the development of these technologies can therefore progress more quickly.”
AI for companies
Tencent is just one of many companies in China – from startups to phone maker Huawei – that have rushed to announce AI products this year. In August, Alibaba announced that it would open its own AI model to third-party developers.
Artificial intelligence requires industry-specific training for the technology to add value, Tencent’s Tong said. He listed business use cases in tourism, finance, public services and customer service.
“We believe that many different customers would actually benefit more from leveraging open source models and using their own enterprise data to train their own models to meet the very specific needs of their industrial use cases,” he said .
This dedicated use can also help with data protection, he said.
https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/07/tencent-releases-ai-model-hunyuan-for-businesses-amid-china-competition.html Tencent releases Hunyuan AI model for enterprises amid Chinese competition