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ChatGPT maker OpenAI may block developer access to its tools in China

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ChatGPT maker OpenAI is planning to block access to technology used to build AI products for entities in China and some other countries, a report has said. While the chatbot is not available in mainland China, many Chinese startups have access to the Microsoft-backed company’s API platform. These companies use it to develop their own applications.

Citing Chinese newspaper Securities Times, news agency Reuters reported that several users in the country have received emails stating that they are in a “region that OpenAI does not currently support”. The emails also noted that measures to block API traffic from some regions will be taken from July 9.

What it means for Chinese AI companies
Following the development, Chinese AI companies are reportedly moving swiftly to attract users of OpenAI's chatbot tools.

While Baidu, China's leading AI developer, said it will launch an "inclusive Program" offering new users free migration to its Ernie platform, Alibaba Cloud is offering free tokens and migration services for OpenAI API users, the report noted.

Baidu is offering additional Ernie 3.5 flagship model tokens, matching the scale of their OpenAI usage. Alibaba Cloud is banking on its Qwen-plus model which is cheaper than GPT-4, according to Alibaba.

Meanwhile, Zhipu AI, another major player in China's AI sector, announced a "Special Migration Program" for OpenAI API users.

“Our GLM model fully benchmarks against OpenAI's product ecosystem. With our entirely self-developed technology, we ensure security and controllability,” Zhipu AI was quoted as saying.

Since the AI boom, several Chinese companies cropped up to release chatbots powered by their own AI models. The companies have to take approval from the Chinese governemtn before launching any AI model for public use.
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