Huawei and Alibaba among companies seeking Chinese deepfake approvals

FILE PHOTO: An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's cyberspace regulator has received 110 applications from Chinese technology companies such as Huawei and Alibaba for approvals related to models that can be used to manipulate visual and audio data.

The firms, according to a list published on Friday by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), are seeking the approvals to comply with rules set out in December by the CAC that govern the use of deepfake technology.

This approval process is separate from the CAC's regulation of Chinese tech firms looking to push out generative artificial intelligence (AI) products, which have been in high demand ever since the success of U.S. firm OpenAI's ChatGPT.

Five Chinese tech firms, including Baidu Inc and SenseTime Group, on Thursday launched AI chatbots to the public after receiving government approval.

Unlike chatbots, which generate entirely new text, images and audio based on prompts from the user, deepfakes use AI technology to generate visual and audio data that is virtually indistinguishable from the original, and easily used for manipulation or misinformation.

(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista, Josh Ye, and Brenda Goh; Editing by David Goodman and Mark Potter)