By Tracy Qu

The number of users of Baidu's Ernie Bot, China's most popular ChatGPT-style chatbot, has doubled in recent months to more than 200 million, according to the company.

Robin Li, chief executive of the Beijing-based internet giant, said at a conference Tuesday that the company's Chinese-language chatbot now has over 200 million users and more than 85,000 enterprise clients.

He added that Ernie Bot's application programming interface is being used 200 million times each day, according to a transcript of his remarks, meaning users have been querying the chatbot that many times daily.

Baidu said in December that its chatbot had 100 million users, and in February said the technology had begun to contribute to Baidu's top line.

OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman said in November that the company's ChatGPT had 100 million weekly active users. ChatGPT remains the world's largest AI chat platform, receiving 1.77 billion desktop and mobile visits worldwide in March, including repeat visits from the same individuals, according to data analytics platform Similarweb.

Google's Gemini had more than 433.5 million visits worldwide to its desktop and mobile sites in March, according to Similarweb.

Ernie Bot, which was launched in March 2023 and released publicly last August, is competing with a host of generative AI models in China, including Alibaba Group's Tongyi Qianwen, Tencent's Hunyuan and Alibaba-backed Moonshot AI's Kimi.

Beijing has approved dozens of generative AI models, including Baidu's Ernie Bot, since the release of rules last year requiring models to be vetted by Chinese regulators. No models made by foreign developers have been approved yet.

The Wall Street Journal last month reported that Apple had held preliminary talks with Baidu about using Ernie Bot in its devices in China, citing people familiar with the matter.

Baidu shares closed 2.7% lower at 94.15 Hong Kong dollars (US$12.03) on Tuesday, slightly better than a 3.0% drop in Hong Kong's benchmark tech index.

Write to Tracy Qu at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-16-24 0615ET