TECH

Apple is looking for artificial intelligence suppliers in China to circumvent regulatory issues

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Apple may have to navigate business and regulatory waters in China with a local artificial intelligence provider, and Baidu may have the technology needed.

Apple has a very large artificial intelligence division, which has been led by former Google employee John Giandrea for many years. Recently, Apple has become associated with Google as a potential technology partner — but it may not suit the Chinese market.

A Wall Street Journal report on Friday claims that Apple continues to seek partners in generative artificial intelligence technologies. The latest partner is said to be China's Baidu, partly to ease regulatory issues in one of Apple's largest markets.

The report notes that Baidu has deployed more than 40 generative AI models, all of which are approved under the country's new regulations. Notably, the Chinese government has not sanctioned any models created by companies from other countries, such as ChatGPT and Google's Gemini.

Talks with Baidu are said to be at an early stage, and details in the report are very sparse. It is also unclear whether Apple has started negotiations with other suppliers in the country.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised that several major releases of artificial intelligence technologies will appear in Apple products in 2024.

“Looking to the future, we will continue to invest in these and other technologies that will shape the future, which includes artificial intelligence, on which we continue to spend a huge amount of time and effort, and we are pleased to share details of our current work in this area later this year,” Cook said during a January earnings call focused on the 2023 holiday period.

“Our principle, if you like, has always been to do the work and then talk about the work, rather than sticking our necks out, and so we're going to stick to that in this case as well.” Cook continued, “But we have some things that we're incredibly excited about that we'll talk about later this year.”

Apple's WWDC in 2024 is expected to kick off that serious discussion.

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