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Apple will use Baidu AI in China, reports say

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While Apple may be talking to Google about adopting the search giant’s Gemini AI for upcoming releases of iOS, over in China that’s not a feasible plan, seeing as how Google services are banned. So, a local player is the answer, and it seems like Apple found it in Baidu, long called “the Google of China” – how fitting.

News from China today reveals that Baidu is set to provide AI services to Apple’s latest devices – only in China, of course. Baidu will be Apple’s generative AI provider in the country, starting with the upcoming release of iOS 18 this fall.

Apple will use Baidu for AI stuff in China, reports say

Apple has reportedly discussed this collaboration with Alibaba and another unnamed Chinese company that provides large-language models (LLMs) before eventually deciding to choose Baidu for the job. In China, every LLM must be approved by regulators before it can be launched to the public, and Baidu’s Ernie Bot is one of more than 40 that have received the green light so far.

This would be seen as a huge endorsement for Baidu and its Ernie Bot in China, and analysts say it’s going to be a “perfect branding campaign” for the Chinese giant. It’s far exceeded analysts’ expectations in how fast it managed to monetize the bot.

Baidu CEO Robin Li said the company’s AI business is likely to be a main revenue driver this year, with income expected to rise very sharply – and the partnership with Apple will definitely have done its part.

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