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Apple Reportedly Exploring Local AI Partners in China as Apple Intelligence Could Face Regulatory Hurdles

Apple has reportedly held discussions with Baidu, Alibaba Group, and Baichuan AI to bring them as AI partners.

Apple Reportedly Exploring Local AI Partners in China as Apple Intelligence Could Face Regulatory Hurdles

Photo Credit: Pexels/ WeStarMoney

Apple Intelligence and ChatGPT might struggle to be approved by the Chinese government

  • Apple unveiled AI features in its upcoming OS updates at WWDC 2024
  • China is yet to allow any outsider AI models in the country
  • Samsung’s AI features in China are powered by local firms like Baidu

Apple unveiled a multitude of new artificial intelligence (AI) features for its iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices at the recently held Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024. These AI features will be powered by the Cupertino-based tech giant's in-house AI model dubbed Apple Intelligence and OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT. However, a report highlights that neither of these AI models might get the Chinese government's nod and the company will have to look for local AI providers if it wants to introduce these features in the region.

Apple exploring local AI partners in China

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Apple has already begun holding discussions to find a suitable local AI partner in China to power its generative AI features. Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the report claimed that the tech giant is currently in talks with China's major search engine company Baidu, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, and Being-based startup Baichuan AI.

The decision to opt for a local AI partner was reportedly made to avoid regulatory conflicts with the Chinese government. All AI models operating in the country are required to first seek approval from the government. This rule applies to any large language model that is trained on databases of text, images, and videos. The vetting process is said to filter out any potential chatbots that can influence public opinion.

The report reveals that 117 different generative AI products have been approved by the Chinese watchdogs till March 2024, however, none of them were developed outside of China. As such, the chances of Apple Intelligence making it through the approval process are considered to be slim.

A case in point is Samsung, which introduced Galaxy AI, its suite of AI features for smartphones, with the Samsung Galaxy S24 series. Some of the notable features include Google's Circle to Search, Live Translate, Generative Edit for photos, AI Interpreter, and more. However, while in the rest of the world, these AI features are powered by Samsung's in-house AI model and Google's Gemini AI, neither are available in China.

According to the publication, Samsung partnered with Baidu to power features such as Circle to Search, text summarisation, and other text-based features. It also partnered with image editing platform Meitu for the AI photo editing features.

Apple is already considered to be a late entrant in the AI race. As the company now scrambles to pick an AI partner in China to ensure a timely release of the features as the rest of the world, it also has to compete with the likes of Oppo and Huawei who have already begun shipping AI features to its users.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 the best foldable phone you can buy in India right now? We discuss the company's new clamshell-style foldable handset on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Akash Dutta
Akash Dutta is a Senior Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He is particularly interested in the social impact of technological developments and loves reading about emerging fields such as AI, metaverse, and fediverse. In his free time, he can be seen supporting his favourite football club - Chelsea, watching movies and anime, and sharing passionate opinions on food. More
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