Zhipu AI, a Chinese company that is working to develop large language models (LLMs), has received funding from Meituan, one of China’s leading food delivery giants. The affiliate of Zhipu AI recently added a Meituan subsidiary as its shareholder, which now owns a 10% stake in the firm. This investment is expected to give Meituan’s AI capabilities a big talent boost, while the AI firms stand to gain by potentially tapping Meituan’s vast reach of 450 million users ordering food, buying groceries, or booking hotels with the on-demand platform.
Zhipu AI: A Rising Star in the Chinese AI Industry
Zhipu AI is one of China’s most promising challengers to OpenAI, and it has attracted investments from several prominent venture capital firms, including Qiming Venture Partners, Legend Capital, and Tsinghua Holdings. The startup was founded in 2019 and is led by Tang Jie, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Technology at Tsinghua University.
Zhipu AI’s Open-Source Language Models
Zhipu AI recently open-sourced its bilingual (Chinese and English) conversational AI model ChatGLM-6B, which is trained on six billion parameters and claims to be able to carry out inferences on a single consumer-grade graphics card, significantly lowering the cost of running an LLM. It also previously open-sourced a more robust, general-purpose variant, the GLM-130B trained on 130 billion parameters. Its user-facing chatbot app ChatGLM is currently in a close beta phase, first targeted at academic and industry players.
Meituan’s Investment in Zhipu AI
Meituan’s investment in Zhipu AI came at a curious time, as the Chinese internet giant announced just three weeks ago that it would be acquiring Light Years Beyond, another prominent LLM player in China, for a hefty $234 million, despite the startup’s inception only four months prior. The change in ownership came after Light Years Beyond’s founder, Wang Huiwen, who’s also the billionaire co-founder of Meituan, announced his resignation from all corporate roles at the food delivery giant due to health reasons.
Zhipu AI’s recent funding from Meituan is expected to give the company a big talent boost, while Meituan stands to gain from the AI firm’s expertise in developing large language models. Zhipu AI’s open-source language models, including ChatGLM-6B and GLM-130B, are expected to lower the cost of running an LLM and make it more accessible to a wider audience. Rewriting content is a proven technique to improve search engine optimization and user experience, and it can fundamentally boost traffic with minimal effort.