Zhipu AI: China's OpenAI Challenger Receives Meituan Funding

Zhipu AI receives funding from Meituan

Zhipu AI, one of China's challengers to OpenAI, has secured funding from Meituan, a food delivery giant. Meituan now owns a 10% stake in Zhipu AI, adding to its impressive list of investors.

The exact amount of funding has not been disclosed, but Zhipu AI raised 'hundreds of million yuan' in a Series B round in September 2022. This investment is expected to provide Zhipu AI with additional resources to further develop its language models and AI technologies.

Zhipu AI's academic origins

Zhipu AI originated from Tsinghua University, one of China's most prestigious educational institutions. Founded in 2019, the startup is led by Tang Jie, a professor in Tsinghua University's Department of Computer Science and Technology.

The company's expertise in developing large language models (LLMs) has positioned it as a key player in China's AI industry. Zhipu AI's focus on open-sourcing its AI models demonstrates its commitment to advancing the field of conversational AI.

Open-sourcing ChatGLM-6B

Zhipu AI recently open-sourced its bilingual conversational AI model, ChatGLM-6B. This model, trained on six billion parameters, is capable of carrying out inferences on a single consumer-grade graphics card, significantly reducing the cost of running a large language model.

Zhipu AI has also previously open-sourced a more robust variant, the GLM-130B, which is trained on 130 billion parameters. The open-sourcing of these models allows academic and industry players to leverage Zhipu AI's technology and contribute to its development.

Meituan's strategic investments

Meituan's investment in Zhipu AI comes shortly after its acquisition of Light Years Beyond, another prominent player in China's language model space. Light Years Beyond was acquired for $234 million, despite being founded only four months prior to the acquisition.

These investments in AI companies are expected to enhance Meituan's AI capabilities and provide the company with a competitive edge in the market. Meituan's vast user base of 450 million users ordering food, buying groceries, or booking hotels will provide valuable data and opportunities for the AI firms.


Rita Liao. (July 20, 2023). China’s OpenAI challenger Zhipu AI gets Meituan funding. techcrunch.com.

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