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China in the US dominated AI race: 01.AI Takes the Lead

In a market of AI dominated, almost made by the United States, a small and new Chinese start-up seems to have been gaining momentum and traction

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Kai-Fu Lee, the prominent investor who helped Google and Microsoft in getting themselves established in China, says that his new startup 01.AI will create “killer apps” of generative AI.

The release of Llama 2, an AI model similar to ChatGPT, caused a stir in the artificial intelligence market. However, in November, a small little-known startup from Beijing 01.AI released its own open-source model. This model is said to outperform Llama 2 and scored near the top of the leaderboards used in the comparison of Ai models.

The 01.AI model Yi-34B rocketed to the top within few days of its release on a scale maintained by Hugging Face – a group that that compared the abilities of AI language models across various standards and benchmarks for automated intelligence. A few months into the race, modified versions of 01. AI’s model began consistently scoring amidst the top of artificial intelligence models. On Monday, the startup launched its newest model, a multimodal AI model called Yi-VL-34B that can process images and discuss their contents.

While OpenAI, Google and most other AI companies control the access to their technology, 01.AI is giving away its AI model in aims of inspiring a loyal developer base in hopes of creating some killer AI apps. Founded last year in June 01.AI has raised $200 million in investment from Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba and others. According to Pitchbook its valued over $1 billion now.

Kai-Fu Lee is a prominent investor and the startup’s founder and CEO. He did pioneer artificial intelligence research before founding Microsoft’s Beijing lab and then leading Google’s Chinese business till 2009. But a year later the company got largely pulled out of the country.

01.AI is one among China’s leading AI companies in the AI race that was started by OpenAI and ChatGPT – a mostly US dominated market.

Based on the current trends, 01.AI has the potential to catapult China into the heart of the next phase of the tech industry.

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