Tencent rolls out its LLM “Hunyuan,” but the public release is delayed

September 7, 2023
AI Tencent

Today, Tencent Holdings, a significant player in China’s tech landscape, unveiled its enterprise-ready AI model, “Hunyuan.”

This is part of Tencent’s strategy to promote services similar to ChatGPT across mainland China. However, the public release of the model is currently delayed for undisclosed reasons. 

Tencent Vice-President Jiang Jie made the announcement during the 2023 Global Digital Ecosystem Summit in Shenzhen. 

According to Jiang, Hunyuan is a large language model (LLM) with over 100 billion parameters and has been trained on more than 2 trillion tokens. 

Businesses in China can now begin testing and integrating Hunyuan through Tencent Cloud, the company’s cloud computing platform.

Hunyuan is engineered to perform multiple functions, such as image creation, copywriting, and text recognition. Jiang stressed the model’s capabilities across various sectors like finance, social media, e-commerce, and gaming.

Tencent has already embedded Hunyuan into several products, including Tencent Cloud, Tencent Games, and WeChat.

Hunyuan is also employed for internal IT operations, such as assisting programmers and customer service representatives, according to the South China Morning Post

Closing the tech gap

The launch of Hunyuan underscores China’s progress in meeting the West’s AI benchmarks. 

A slow starter in releasing public AI, China established regulations to force developers to submit their products for internal testing by the country’s Cyberspace Administration.

Baidu, another Chinese tech giant, made its LLM ERNIE available to the public earlier in the week.

During the summit, Jiang emphasized Hunyuan’s superior capabilities compared to OpenAI’s GPT-3 and GPT-4, citing its ability to generate an agriculture-related research paper with more than 4,000 Chinese characters.

Additionally, Jiang pointed out that Hunyuan outpaces “mainstream open-source frameworks” in data training speed, although he didn’t provide further details.

There were several other announcements. Tencent Meeting, the company’s online conferencing tool, now features an AI assistant capable of generating summaries and action items from meeting recordings. 

Tencent Docs has also integrated Hunyuan to support numerous text-creation scenarios “with just one click,” according to Jiang. This is notable, as Western equivalents, such as Google Duet and Microsoft Copilot, are yet to roll out to the public. 

AI integration directly into users’ document creation workflows has been slow in the West partly due to privacy concerns, a lesser issue in China.

China will play on these strategic advantages to accelerate forward in the AI race.

Delay in public release

While Hunyuan is already being integrated as a mini-program within Tencent’s super app WeChat, the public release of Tencent’s AI chatbot remains in “internal testing,” accessible on an invite-only basis.

This has disappointed Chinese citizens eager to test the country’s latest ChatGPT competitor.

The two-day Tencent summit continues tomorrow.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.

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