Chinese Project Zhipu AI Sees Huge Boost, Gets Meituan Funding


Zhipu AI was founded in 2019 as a creative invention by the Chinese prestigious Tsinghua University.

Zhipu AI has reportedly received a significant boost in its bid to challenge OpenAI’s domination of the artificial intelligence space. This follows after a recent announcement revealed that the firm has received funding from China’s food supply giant Meituan. Although the amount of funding remains undisclosed, Zhipu AI is now easily the country’s most promising project to take on OpenAI.

According to a local media report, a Meituan subsidiary has become a major stakeholder in an affiliate of Zhipu AI. That is after buying a 10% stake in the firm.

Meanwhile, Zhipu’s exact funding to date also remains guesswork. The only idea about how much the startup has raised so far is the hint that it dropped earlier. Zhipu claims that it raised “hundreds of million yuan” ($1 = 7.23 yuan) from a Series B round last September. And mentioned that the round featured the likes of Qiming Venture Partners, Legend Capital, and Tsinghua Holdings, as its investors.

Zhipu AI Aims to Build Dominant LLM

Since OpenAI launched in 2015, several Chinese companies have been working to develop large language models (LLMs) that could compete with what their Western equals have created. And as it stands, Zhipu AI might already be in a clear lead among its Chinese counterparts.

Zhipu recently open-sourced its bilingual (Chinese and English) conversational AI model ChatGLM-6B. According to the firm, the model is trained on six billion parameters and is capable of carrying out inferences on a single consumer-grade graphics card, thereby, lessening the cost of running an LLM by a wide margin.

Before this, the firm had also open-sourced another model, the GLM-130B, which may be a more robust, general-purpose variant, being that it is trained on 130 billion parameters. Its user-facing chatbot app ChatGLM is currently in its beta phase.

Zhipu AI was founded in 2019 as a creative invention by the Chinese prestigious Tsinghua University. The startup is led by Tang Jie, a professor in the university’s Department of Computer Science and Technology.


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