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Chinese AI startup 01.AI looks to raise $200 mln -sources

Photo: Dado Ruvic
Photo: Dado Ruvic

Chinese AI startup 01.AI looks to raise $200 million in funding. According to two people familiar with the situation, the artificial intelligence (AI) firm 01.AI, located in Beijing, reportedly seeks up to $200 million in new funding. This is in addition to the valuation of $1 billion a month ago, based on the growing interest in open-source AI models worldwide.

It is one of several Chinese businesses that have exposed their large language models (LLM) to the public or have plans to offer them to the public. Other such startups include Meta (META.O) and Alibaba (9988. HK), larger companies, to recruit customers and catch up to OpenAI, the world’s most successful artificial intelligence company.

One of the sources stated that 01.AI, formally established in July by Lee Kai-fu, the former CEO of Google China, following a period of incubation lasting three months, reached a valuation of one billion dollars at the beginning of November.

It was reported by the second source that the corporation was looking for more capital from investors headquartered in the United States.

Because the facts of the fundraiser were not made public, every source quoted in this piece requested anonymity. In response to a request for comment, the corporation did not immediately respond.

In November, 01.AI gained fame in the open-source LLM community when their Yi-34B model became the first Chinese LLM to top the leaderboard of Huggingface. Huggingface is a platform that allows technology companies to publish LLMs, which are then assessed based on their performance and popularity.

Taking advantage of the growing interest in generative artificial intelligence (AI), these businesses have successfully raised considerable cash from investors and fulfilled their promise to make their AI models publicly available. Specifically, the Chinese media has reported that the valuation of Zhipu AI, established in 2019, has surpassed one billion dollars.

After its most recent round of financing in October, Baichuan Technology, which has been in operation for eight months, achieved a value of $1.2 billion, according to a third person who had firsthand knowledge of the process.


OpenAI, which developed the well-known chatbot ChatGPT, has challenged the open-source learning management systems (LLMs) trend. Given the potential for misuse by malicious actors, which could threaten everyone in society, OpenAI has kept the codes of its models under wraps.

In China, the cloud division of the multinational technology company Alibaba (9988. HK) has been working to make its LLMs open-source. The company’s most recent LLM Qwen-72B is the second model from China to accomplish this feat and has just established Huggingface’s leaderboard.

In the past four months, Alibaba has made eight different artificial intelligence models available, the most recent and influential of which is Qwen-72B. If we look at various industry benchmarks, the business claims that Qwen-72B can perform better than OpenAI’s flagship GPT4 when processing Chinese.

“Building up an open-source ecosystem is critical to promoting the development of LLM and AI applications,” Jingren Zhou, the chief technical officer of Alibaba Cloud, said on Wednesday in response to a question regarding Alibaba’s commitment to open-sourcing its artificial intelligence models.

He said there is a rising need for artificial intelligence applications across various sectors, developers, and enterprises.

“Alibaba Cloud aspires to become the most open cloud and make generative AI capabilities accessible to everyone.”

The business is also assisting open-source artificial intelligence and learning management startups, such as 01.AI, with which it is working in several areas, including model training and deployment procedures.

According to the sources, AliCloud has previously committed to financing the current round.

On Thursday, an inquiry on the 01.AI fundraiser was sent to AliCloud, but the company did not immediately react to the communication.

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