Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance Compete in the Enterprise Software Arena with Generative AI Innovations

The leading trio in China’s enterprise software market – Tencent’s WeChat Work, Alibaba’s DingTalk, and ByteDance’s Lark Suite – are vying for dominance in a sector increasingly influenced by generative AI. Alibaba’s DingTalk and ByteDance’s Lark Suite have rapidly introduced generative AI-driven functionalities, whereas WeChat Work has been more measured in its pace of implementing AI upgrades.

Just one day before the launch of the GPT Store earlier this week, DingTalk unveiled its latest version with full-scale launch of an "AI Assistant," supported by Alibaba’s large-scale general-purpose model, Tongyi Qianwen. DingTalk also announced that it would launch the "AI Assistant Store" in April this year. Over the next three years, DingTalk aims to incubate 10 million AI super assistants in the DingTalk platform.

ByteDance’s Lark Suite upgraded its AI capabilities last November, with the launch of AI products like the "Lark Intelligent Partner" that serves multiple work use cases including content creation, data analysis, and customization. However, unlike DingTalk’s publicly released AI Assistant, Lark Intelligent Partner is still in the trial phase.

In comparison, Tencent’s WeChat Work has not yet made any significant announcements about product upgrades with generative AI.

As early as in April 2023, DingTalk took the lead by integrating Alibaba’s Tongyi Qianwen large-scale model. Users could easily activate the AI assistant through the ‘/’ icon on the homepage, enhancing intelligent assistance capabilities in group chats, documents, video conferences, and application development. This feature quickly entered user-end testing in May.

By August, the applications of large-scale models on DingTalk were further transformed with 17 product lines and 55 use cases on the platform powered by LLMs. The platform introduced digital employees, AI-generated corporate staff assistants capable of drafting job advertisements, posting recruitment ads, screening candidates, scheduling interviews, and more. The "AI Teaching Assistant" could help teachers grade assignments, and a dining assistant could place orders directly on Chinese food-ordering app Ele.me.

As of now, DingTalk’s AI assistant services cover almost all of DingTalk’s product lines. The upcoming AI Assistant Store, set to launch in April, will further enhance DingTalk’s capabilities in AI.

Lark Suite announced in April 2023 the launch of an interactive AI assistant "My AI," followed by a declaration in November to help businesses become "AI Ready." This included the introduction of "Lark Intelligent Partner," powered by large-scale models like Chinese Ai firms including Baichuan Intelligence, MiniMax, and Zhipu AI. Curiously, ByteDance’s self-developed large-scale model product "Yunque" was not explicitly mentioned.

Like DingTalk’s AI super assistant, Feishu’s Intelligent Partner is also activated through natural language and assists users in content creation, summarization, data analysis, and more. It can refine meeting key points, summarize unread messages, analyze PDFs, audio, and video, and even generate management systems and sales solutions for specific scenarios.

Tencent’s Hunyuan large-scale model is the latest to be released among the major Chinese internet giants. Officially launched last September and upgraded in October, it introduced the "text-to-image" feature.

At that time, Tencent mentioned that over 180 internal Tencent businesses had integrated with Hunyuan, including Tencent Meeting, Tencent Docs, WeCom, Tencent Ads, and WeChat Search. WeChat Work utilizes the Hunyuan model with features including automatically writing emails for users.

Overall, WeChat Work appears to have maintained a lower profile compared to DingTalk and Lark Suite, aligning with Tencent’s typically more reserved approach.

The current market landscape shows that DingTalk and WeChat Work are still leading, while Lark Suite has yet to shake the two pioneers’ market position. According to data published by Caixin, Lark Suite’s popularity remains far behind the two competitors. But it seems that users stay on Lark Suites longer.

With generative AI revolutionizing the enterprise software sector in China, the competitive dynamics are poised for significant shifts in the coming years.

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