China has a “glut” of AI resources: Baidu CEO

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Robin Li Yanhong, the founder and CEO of Baidu, highlighted the overabundance of large language models (LLMs) in China, pointing out that the country has too many LLMs and too few practical applications. Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, Li emphasized the unsustainable nature of the current competition among over 100 LLMs in China, which has led to a significant waste of resources, particularly computing power.

Li criticized the intense competition among the numerous LLMs in China, describing it as a significant waste of resources. He questioned the real-world applications and benefits of these models, suggesting that the focus should shift from foundational models to practical uses.

While China has outpaced the U.S. in AI patents six-to-one over the past decade, it lags in research citations. The China Academy of Sciences is the only Chinese organization in the top 20 for research citations, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Publicly available LLMs in China must undergo regulatory approval to ensure they align with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) control over the population. As of March 2024, over 200 AI firms have applied for a license, with 117 receiving approval from Beijing.

The multitude of LLMs means fierce competition for market share. Yan Junjie, CEO of AI startup MiniMax, predicts significant industry consolidation, with only a few companies developing LLMs in the future. Major Chinese tech companies like Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba are rushing to capture the market left by OpenAI’s withdrawal, offering discounts and plans to entice customers.

Industry experts foresee a “bloodbath” in the large language model market, with many companies likely to be acquired or forced out of business due to intense competition and decision fatigue among customers.

Larger companies with substantial resources are expected to dominate the market, either by acquiring smaller competitors or driving them out through aggressive pricing and marketing strategies.

The current glut of large language models in China represents a significant misallocation of resources, according to Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li Yanhong. The industry is poised for major consolidation, with only a few dominant players likely to survive the intense competition. The focus now needs to shift towards practical applications of AI to ensure that these models provide real-world benefits.



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