Several popular Chinese apps have removed access to ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot developed by American research lab OpenAI. Previously, several apps on the Chinese social media platform WeChat had allowed access to the chatbot without the use of a VPN or foreign mobile number, but now those doors appear shut.
The apps ChatGPTRobot and AIGC Chat Robot said their programs had been suspended due to “violation of relevant laws and regulations,” without specifying which laws. Two other apps, ChatgptAiAi and Chat AI Conversation, said their ChatGPT services went offline due to “relevant business changes” and policy changes. The app Shenlan BL cited “various reasons” for the shutdown.
On Monday, state-run media released a video claiming the chatbot could be used by US authorities to “spread disinformation and manipulate public opinion,” pointing to its responses regarding Xinjiang as supposed evidence of bias. Beijing has repeatedly denied accusations of human rights abuses in the region. Other recent state media articles have voiced criticism and skepticism toward ChatGPT, with China Daily declaring that its rise highlights the need for “strict regulations.”
Restaurant Automation Innovator Syrve Expands to Egypt
Qatari Government Entities to Access OpenAI GPT Technology via Azure Qatar Cloud
Nokia Phone Maker HMD Global Plans to Move Manufacturing to Europe in Response to Customer Demand
Several Chinese tech companies saw their shares drop on Thursday after news spread that WeChat apps had removed ChatGPT services. Beijing Haitian Ruisheng Science Technology, which develops and produces AI data products, closed 8.4% lower. Meanwhile, Hanwang Technology and Beijing Deep Glint Technology, both developers of AI products and services, closed 10% and 5.5% lower respectively.
Despite these concerns, the success of ChatGPT has spurred a global AI race, with Microsoft planning to invest billions in OpenAI and unveiling its AI-powered Bing chatbot last week. Earlier this month, Google announced it will soon roll out Bard, its own answer to ChatGPT. Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Fudan University, and Baidu are also developing their own versions of the chatbot.
The Chinese government has previously sought to restrict major Western websites and apps, leading to accusations of digital protectionism. In the absence of foreign competition within the domestic market, Chinese tech companies have since grown into major international players, many of which are now focusing on AI.