The AI-powered ChatGPT, created by the San Francisco company OpenAI, has caused a sensation for its ability to write essays, poems and programming code on demand within seconds, prompting widespread fears over cheating or of professions becoming obsolete.
Chinese tech companies have joined the global rush to develop rival software, with Alibaba and JD.com announcing similar projects.
Baidu is the first Chinese tech company to launch its contender in the blossoming chatbot space. Other Chinese companies, including ByteDance and Tencent, have announced plans to launch their own AI chatbots.
ChatGPT is blocked in China, but the American software is gaining a base of Chinese users who use virtual private networks to get around the ban, deploying it to write essays and cram for exams.
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, called for China to become more self-reliant through its own innovations in science and technology in a speech earlier this week.
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