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Apple’s AI plans will make its China problems worse

by on21 June 2024

China does not like OpenAI

Apple’s attempts to hide its lateness in the AI race by using OpenAI might cause it more trouble in one of its biggest markets.

The fruity cargo cult has been losing market share in China as mobile phone buyers decide it might be better to buy something cheaper, up-to-date and less associated with the United States.
Chinese consumers have been presented with a steady stream of appealing alternatives from domestic players like Huawei, including devices such as the Mate 60 Pro and Pura 70 Ultra.
Usually, the Apple marketing machine would crank into action, claiming that its foray into AI, known as Apple Intelligence, which is based around OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT is a cure for cancer. This would send Chinese customers back to Apple stores.
However, while Apple is motivated to introduce Apple Intelligence to Chinese consumers, it will face obstacles in implementing these new AI features in China.
To use Apple Intelligence, Chinese citizens must rely on VPNs to access the OpenAI chatbot. This is because Companies aiming to offer significant language model-led AI chatbots must secure approval from Chinese authorities. So far, this approval has been granted exclusively to Chinese developers of AI chatbots.
Word on the street is that Jobs’ Mob is chatting to prominent local companies, including Baidu, Alibaba, and Beijing startup Baichuan AI to create an agreement that mirrors Apple's existing OpenAI deal.
The Tame Apple Press is doing its best to play down the issue, claiming that the majority of AI features will be powered by Apple's proprietary technology. However, that is not precisely the case. Most of the customer-facing tech will be OpenAI based with Apple’s nascent AI working behind the scenes to sort out things like battery life.
To make matters worse, Chinese competitors have already introduced smartphones with AI capabilities, making Jobs’ Mob more of an afterthought.

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