BEIJING, May 19 (TiPost)— Head of a Chinese tech giant cautions with the artificial intelligence (AI) gold rush in the industry.
Source: Visual China
“We initially deemed (AI) as a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the internet industry, but the more we think about it, the more we felt that this is a rare opportunity that only comes every few hundred years, similar to the Industrial Revolution ushered in electricity,” Pony Ma Huateng, the chairman and CEO of Tencent, responded to the question about AI and ChatGPT, the most popular AI chatbot nowadays, at the annual shareholder meeting held on Thursday, according to Chinese digital newspaper The Paper.
Ma underlined importance of solid foundation during the ongoing work on AI. While internet companies have accumulated a lot in terms of research and development of AI, Tencent, as a hard worker on it as well, is not eager to work out early and show off its unfinished products, Ma pointed out. “It’s not so important for the previous Industrial Revolution to invent the light bulb one month earlier, if we viewed over a long period of time. What’s important is the solid buildup of the underlying algorithms, computing power, and data, and more importantly, the application scenario,” Ma said. “(We) still have some things to think about at the moment. I feel that many companies are too hasty, seemingly in bid to boost their stocks. That’s unlike the way we always deal with.”
An excellent company usually focuses on where its strengths are to unleash more value, and focus can only maximize our advantages if we avoid of squandering previous energy to grab a share of the pie on areas where others are more professional, Ma said, when sharing his experience for corporate governance at meeting.
Prior to the remark, Ma just vowed to ramp up efforts for AI following a strong comeback of revenue growth. “We are investing in our AI capabilities and cloud infrastructure to embrace the opportunities brought by foundation models, and expect AI to be a growth multiplier that enables us to better serve our users, customers, and society at large, ” Ma said at a press release about financial results in the first quarter on Wednesday.
Tencent posted total revenue of RMB150 billion (US$21.8 billion) in the quarter ended March, 31, beating the analysts’ estimates of RMB146.29 billion. The sales suggest an 11% year-over-year (YoY) increase, the first double-digit growth since the third quarter, 2021. The profit attributable to equity holders on an IFRS basis for the quarter climbed 10% YoY to RMB25.8 billion, missing the expected RMB28.89 billion. Ma commented the solid revenue growth was achieved as the payment volumes benefitted from, and facilitated, domestic consumption recovery, the improved games revenue of his company, and the sustained rapid growth of its advertising revenue.
Tencent was making good developments in building AI models, and had different product teams which were already planning some interesting offerings along with their products, the president Martin Lau told analysts at an earnings call. Lau said the Shenzhen-based company was scaling up the AI model training and basically collect data across the entire internet, specially adding high-quality public data in China. While admitted AI industry has to be regulated, Lau noted the general stance of the Chinese government was supportive of innovations in the sector. He said AI regulation is necessary and added that is not specific to China, citing a lot of relevant public discussions in the United States and the calling for AI rules by Sam Altman, the founder and CEO of OpenAI, during his Senate testimony earlier this week.