HomeArtificial IntelligenceAI Race Intensifies: SenseTime and Alibaba Showcase Progress at China's AI Exhibition

AI Race Intensifies: SenseTime and Alibaba Showcase Progress at China’s AI Exhibition

AI Race Intensifies: SenseTime and Alibaba Showcase Progress at China’s AI Exhibition

Alibaba’s cloud computing unit, the developer of the Tongyi Qianwen LLMs, also touted new user growth. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

In the past two months, downloads of the open-source Tongyi Qianwen models doubled to more than 20 million.

The number of customers served by Alibaba Cloud Model Studio, the company’s generative AI development platform designed for corporate customers and partners, also increased by over 150 per cent to 230,000, according to Zhou Jingren, Alibaba Cloud’s chief technology officer.

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Zhou asserted Alibaba Cloud’s commitment to open-source initiatives.

“Two years ago, we released the Tongyi model series at WAIC. At that time, we announced that Tongyi’s core model would be open source,” he said.

“Today, Tongyi Qianwen has achieved full-scale and full-modal open source in the true sense, narrowing the gap between open-source and closed-source models.”

Yan Junjie, founder and CEO of Shanghai-based AI start-up MiniMax, made a bold prediction in an interview with local outlet Sina.com that despite red-hot competition in the global LLM market – China alone has more than 200 such models available – only five companies will be making these models in the future.

“How many of these will be in China, that’s a question I don’t know [the answer to],” Yan said.

MiniMax is one of China’s so-called AI Tigers, alongside Zhipu AI, Baichuan, and Moonshot AI – all based in Beijing.

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The group’s unofficial name represents a belief that they are China’s best hope in rivalling overseas start-ups like Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Anthropic, the Amazon.com-backed developer of Claude.

In his speech at WAIC, Yan said that there is an imperative for AI models to improve their accuracy before playing a bigger role in traditional industries.

SenseTime also launched at the Shanghai event its 5o and 5.5 Lite models. SenseNova 5o is a multimodal model, while 5.5 Lite is a terminal-based model.

Xu said SenseNova 5o is the first large AI model in China to realise a new means of human-AI interaction by integrating cross-modal information such as sound, text, images and video in real time.

In a live demonstration, a SenseTime staff member took a video of himself standing on stage and showed how the model was able to immediately identify that he is attending the WAIC conference using a badge worn on top of his T-shirt.

It was also able to answer follow-up questions, explaining what the conference is for.

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