Fame and Fortune: Baidu makes it to the Fortune 50 AI Innovators list

Chinese tech goliath Baidu, known for its Chinese-language search engine of the same name, has made it onto Fortune’s 50 AI Innovators list and is the only company on the list from China.

Fortune cites Baidu’s recently unveiled 4.0 version of its ChatGPT-like large language model (LLM) ERNIE Bot, which the company claims outperforms ChatGPT “in a number of Chinese-language-specific tasks and matches ChatGPT in sophistication and capabilities” as one of its innovations in the field.

The list, which debuted on November 21st, was compiled by canvassing venture capitalists (VCs), industry analysts and Fortune’s staff of AI experts. Others on the new Fortune list include major players in the artificial intelligence field like OpenAI, Google DeepMind, Meta, Midjourney, as well as IBM, Nvidia and Bloomberg.

Baidu was the first Chinese company to launch a GPT-style LLM. ERNIE Bot has been released to the public recently, with 70 million users in total. In early November, ERNIE Bot 4.0 was made available as part of its paid version which costs 59.9 RMB (8.45 USD) for a single month, or 49.9 RMB (7.04 USD) per month through an auto-renewed subscription. Fortune also mentions that Baidu launched a driverless “robotaxi” service called Apollo Go this year, in Chinese cities Wuhan, Chongqing, Beijing and Shenzhen.

On the same day as the unveiling of the list from Fortune, Baidu announced its Q3 financial report. During the period, the company earned a revenue of 34.45 billion RMB (4.81 billion USD). This includes a net profit (non-GAAP) of 7.3 billion RMB (1.02 USD), up 23% from last year, exceeding expectations. Baidu’s shares surged over 5% the next day after the financial report and Fortune list were published.


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