Mainland search engine giant Baidu on Monday cancelled a planned livestreamed product launch related to its ChatGPT-like "Ernie bot", with initial reports of the cancellation causing its Hong Kong shares to plunge as much as 4.5 percent in morning trade.
The webcast, scheduled for Monday afternoon, was switched to a closed-door meeting with the first batch of companies that are testing the product, Baidu said in a statement.
The reason behind the change in format was in order to satisfy the "strong demand" from 120,000 companies that had applied to test Ernie bot, the company said, adding this would be the first of many closed-door meetings.
Ernie bot was launched on March 16 by Baidu CEO Robin Li, who gave a livestreamed presentation that walked journalists through a series of pre-recorded demos displaying the chatbot's different capabilities.
The company's share price dropped while the presentation was still being livestreamed but rebounded the following day, due in part to strong demand from the Chinese corporate sector for generative artificial intelligence, the technology powering products like Ernie bot and ChatGPT. (Reuters)