On Thursday, the Chinese search engine company Baidu released the chat robot Ernie, revealing what is assumed to be China’s primary rival to the American research company OpenAI’s celebrated software, ChatGPT.

The popularity surrounding Microsoft-backed ChatGPT has caused an urgent sprint among Chinese technology companies to develop a competitor. Baidu took the lead in the race after announcing in February that they were close to completing the development of their AI-driven chatbot, Ernie (Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration).

The introduction of Ernie was presented at Baidu’s headquarters in Beijing on Thursday, two days after American Google’s parent company Alphabet revealed a host of AI tools for the company’s email and cloud software, as well as digital collaboration. Microsoft is expected to make a similar announcement to Google later on Thursday.

As far as Baidu is concerned, the shorter presentation videos of the chat robot did not match market expectations, and Baidu’s Hong Kong-listed stock fell as much as 10 percent before some recovery.

“We cannot say that it is perfect,” said Baidu CEO Robin Li, who presented the Ernie Bot, “so why are we revealing it today? Because the market demands it,” he continued according to Reuters.

During the presentation, the CEO showed five videos where the Ernie Bot answered questions about the popular science fiction novel “The Three Body Problems,” performed mathematical calculations, recognized Chinese dialects, and generated a video and image based on prompts entered via text.

Robin Li said that the launch was not due to geopolitics and that Ernie bot is not a tool to create confrontation between China and the USA.

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