Apple picks Baidu for AI features in China - report

Apple has chosen China’s search giant Baidu to provide AI features for its products in the country, including the upcoming iPhone 16, local media has reported.

Baidu has secured a deal with Apple to power the next iPhone, MacOS, and iOS with its AI technology in the Chinese domestic market, according to the local media outlet China Star Market.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the report said that Apple picked Baidu after also holding talks with Alibaba, an e-commerce company, and another, unnamed AI firm.

Apple needed a Chinese partner to comply with local regulations and will use its own AI model outside China, the report said.

The decision comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook’s two-day visit to China, where he opened the world’s second-largest Apple Store in Shanghai and announced the upcoming China release of Apple Vision Pro later this year.

Apple’s rival Samsung has also partnered with Baidu in China. In January, the South Korean conglomerate announced that Galaxy S24, its first AI-powered smartphone, would run on Baidu-developed Ernie Bot in the country.

Outside China, the Samsung Galaxy S24 lineup is powered by Google’s AI model Gemini, which is blocked in China along with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other Western chatbots.

While Samsung is not among the top five most popular phone brands in China, Apple posted a record year and led the oversaturated market with a 17.3% share in 2023, according to the International Data Corporation.

Partnerships with large foreign multinationals could also help Baidu strengthen its positions as AI leader in China against domestic competitors such as Alibaba, Tencent, or TikTok owner ByteDance.

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