Apple Inc. has discussed using Baidu Inc.’s generative artificial intelligence in iPhones and other devices within China, the Wall Street Journal reported, a potentially big win for the domestic search leader.

Apple has held initial talks about using Baidu’s generative AI technology in its gadgets, the Journal said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The US company sought a local partner because regulators there must vet all AI models, the newspaper added.

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Baidu is considered one of the leaders in AI in China, where startups and tech giants are investing billions on developing their own answers to ChatGPT. OpenAI’s seminal creation and other foreign services aren’t available in China’s tightly regulated online sphere.

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Baidu’s US-traded shares were up less than 1% in New York on Friday after earlier rising about 5% on the news.

Bloomberg reported this week that Apple has held discussions with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and OpenAI about using their AI software on the iPhone. Apple could tap multiple partners, as it does with search in its web browser. 

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Samsung Electronics Co., Apple’s top smartphone rival, uses Baidu as an AI provider in China for its latest Galaxy phones.

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