TikTok owner ByteDance launches its answer to OpenAI’s GPTs, accelerating a generative AI push amid ChatGPT frenzy

ByteDance has launched a platform similar to OpenAI’s GPTs, which allows users to customise its ChatGPT artificial intelligence (AI) bot for specific tasks, as the Chinese owner of TikTok accelerates its AI drive.

Coze, rolled out on Thursday in China where OpenAI’s services are not officially available, is described as a “one-stop AI development platform” that allows users to “quickly create a bot without coding”.

After building a chat bot, users can share it across other ByteDance apps, such as enterprise collaboration tool Feishu, or even WeChat, Tencent Holdings’ super app with more than 1.3 billion users.

The development follows a December report by the South China Morning Post that ByteDance was planning a “bot development platform”.

The Coze website is operated by Beijing Chuntian Zhiyun Technology Co, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Beijing Douyin Information Service Co, one of ByteDance’s major entities in China.

ByteDance CEO wants to whip employees into shape amid fierce competition

ByteDance has recently shut down a gaming platform and a healthcare encyclopaedia, underlining its new focus on AI amid the popularity of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools.

ByteDance’s Momoyu, an app to download casual games, said on Monday it was closing “with regret” after three years of operation. The Beijing-based tech giant also disabled its Baikemy site recently, an encyclopaedia of diseases, medicine and other healthcare knowledge.

ByteDance acquired Baikemy for 500 million yuan (US$70 million) in 2020, according to Chinese media outlet Yicai, when demand for medical care was soaring amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment on these business developments.

Company chief executive Liang Rubo on Tuesday berated employees for “not being sensitive enough” to the emergence of new technologies, such as ChatGPT. In an internal meeting, Liang said that staff only began discussing ChatGPT in 2023, well after the AI chat bot’s release in November, 2022.

ByteDance’s AI-driven content recommendation system, which feeds personalised content to users based on their interests and viewing activities in apps such as TikTok and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, has long been regarded in the industry as a very successful AI use case.

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