Alibaba Group unveiled its own generative AI model it pledged to roll out across its ecosystem of apps and businesses, in a move to rival recent advancements in the field made by technology giants Microsoft and Google.

Alibaba Cloud stated its language model, dubbed Tongyi Qianwen, will initially be integrated into two products: work messaging app DingTalk and voice assistant Genie. Users of the former can use the system to summarise meeting notes, write emails and even generate business proposals.

Going forward, it will open up the model to clients so they can build large language models, while committing to integration across enterprise, communication, intelligent voice assistance, e-commerce, navigation and entertainment applications.

The company said the AI model was designed to help businesses improve user experience in the near future, while customers and developers would be given access to create customised AI features in a cost-effective way.

Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group explained the industry had reached “a technological watershed moment” driven by generative AI and cloud, with businesses across all sectors starting to “embrace intelligence transformation to stay ahead of the game”.

“This follows moves by Baidu with Ernie and SenseTime with SenseChat but initial tests of these systems indicate that they have some way to go before they can catch up with ChatGPT,” reflected Richard Windsor, founder of research blog Radio Free Mobile..

“This is probably due to the fact that they have not been working on this for as long as OpenAI, Google and so on and also due to the more limited data set.”

Interestingly, shortly after Alibaba’s unveiling, the Cyberspace Administration of China published draft rules warning generative AI services should adhere to core socialist values as well as wider laws on data security and personal information.

Concerns have also been raised about the rapid advancement of generative AI systems elsewhere, with a number of influential technology figures calling for a six month pause on development, warning of the risks posed to society.

Arguably, Microsoft is currently leading the way, integrating the technology across its products following a major investment in ChatGPT creator Open AI. Google, too, has made its own advancements following a backing of developer Anthropic.