Introducing Cici and ChatGPT watch out: ByteDance’s ChatGPT-powered AI chatbot is topping app charts in emerging markets. This is a reminder that in the age of generative AI, ByteDance remains a strong global contender for users and market share.
The Cici chatbot was launched in multiple markets in August, and have secured the top spot in the overall rankings on Google Play in Argentina and Peru. In the Philippines and Indonesia, it also hovers around the top 10 apps in overall rankings.
As previously reported, ByteDance has recently established a new AI division called Flow to accelerate its AI-based product deployment. In early June, ByteDance tested an AI chatbot codenamed Grace internally. In August, the company launched two AI chatbots, Dou Bao for the Chinese market and Cici for overseas markets.
Cici, as described in the app’s own details, is powered by ChatGPT, indicating it might be built using the ChatGPT API. This could mean that ByteDance may not be focused on training its own generative AI large models at this stage. But with ByteDance’s scale, it is unlikely for ByteDance to rely on external entities for such an essential function for long.
BeyteDance already has its own Yun Que model, which is a large language model capable of efficiently completing tasks such as dialogues, information retrieval, natural language generation.
The Cici chatbot features numerous customizations with different versions tailored for various countries and regions. It also provides some chatbots tailored for specific needs, such as tarot reading, language learning, copy editing, and programming. Users can create their own chatbots and choose to make them public or for personal use only, similar to what ChatGPT offers.
Currently free for users, ByteDance appears to be aiming to attract a broad user base at this stage, seeking a strategic foothold in the ongoing AI evolution. With a massive number of users, ByteDance will likely seek continuous improvements and refinement through extensive user behavior and data feedback.
ByteDance’s strategy of offering free AI bots in emerging markets seems designed to avoid competing directly with ChatGPT and differentiate itself from small and medium-sized companies that develop AI bots, which mainly rely on subscription monetization.
Cici supports 12 languages, just enough to cover the current markets in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the Japan-Korea region. Meanwhile, ChatGPT mainly offers languages for European countries, Japan, Korea, and Russia.
Data shows that Cici has been launched in 36 countries and regions overseas, covering almost every regional market except for developed markets such as the United States and Europe. Cici is available in Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America, including countries like Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Brazil.
Because of ByteDance’s current focus on emerging markets, the Cici app primarily concentrates its efforts on the Android platform.