Apple Seeks AI Partner for Apple Intelligence in China

With iOS 18, Apple is working with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT into the iPhone, where ChatGPT will work alongside Siri to handle requests for AI-generated content. ChatGPT and other similar AI services are not available in China, so Apple needs to find an alternative.

apple intelligence
Apple is actively looking for a Chinese company to partner with for its AI features in China, reports The Wall Street Journal. Apple has held talks with Baidu, Alibaba Group, and Beijing startup Baichuan AI, but no deal has emerged.

Apple Intelligence features are going to be limited to an increasingly small number of customers when ‌iOS 18‌, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia launch this fall. Apple today said that it would not bring these features to countries in the European Union, and without a deal with a Chinese AI company, China could be out too.

China requires companies to get government approval before rolling out chatbots powered by large language models, and to date, has not approved any AI products that were developed outside of the country. Apple did look into the possibility of getting approval for its own large language model, but found that Chinese regulators were not likely to allow it. To bring Apple Intelligence features to China, Apple has to sign a deal with a Chinese AI company.

It is not clear if Apple would have time to prepare a Chinese version of Apple Intelligence for September even if it did manage to secure a deal in the near future, so Apple Intelligence is not likely to come to China until a later date. Even if Apple did make it happen, Apple Intelligence will only be available in U.S. English at launch, with support for additional languages coming in 2025.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is falling behind competing smartphone companies in China because AI features are already available on devices from top-selling Chinese brands like Vivo, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Honor. Even Samsung has a smartphone with AI integrations in China, as it has partnered with Baidu and Meitu.

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