Meituan Co-Founder Comes Out of Retirement to Set Up China’s OpenAI
Lu Hanzhi | Liu Jia
DATE:  Feb 13 2023
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Meituan Co-Founder Comes Out of Retirement to Set Up China’s OpenAI Meituan Co-Founder Comes Out of Retirement to Set Up China’s OpenAI

(Yicai Global) Feb. 13 -- The billionaire co-founder of Chinese takeout giant Meituan, who retired in 2020, has decided to enter the artificial intelligence sector and create the Chinese version of OpenAI, the US AI lab behind chatbot ChatGPT that is taking the world by storm.

Wang Huiwen, who was the force behind Beijing-based Meituan and several other internet startups such as social networking site Renren and phone charging station rental firm Laidian, is preparing to turn his tech company Beijing Guangnianwai Technology into the next OpenAI, the 44-year-old entrepreneur said today.

Wang is hiring top research and development talent, people who are fanatical about AI changing the world and those who wish to ensure that AI benefits the whole of humanity, he said today. The first round of recruitment will mainly focus on R&D talent.

Former employees of Meituan, which is China’s biggest on-demand service platform with a market valuation of HKD900 billion (USD114.7 billion), and AI expert Li Zhifei, who invented voice search engine Chumenwenwen, have already said they wish to join Wang’s team.

Wang may be taking a bit of a chance in deciding to start a AI business at this time, Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University’s International Business School, told Yicai Global.

Applications are key in the AI field and reputation among users is of paramount importance once the products come out. It remains to be seen if Guangnianwai has this ability, he added.

Guangnianwai, which has a market valuation of USD200 million, is looking to raise USD230 million from top venture capitalists in the next financing round, said Wang, who is worth about CNY9.5 billion (USD1.4 billion) according to the Hurun China Rich List 2022.

Editor: Kim Taylor

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Keywords:   Meituan,ChatGPT,OpenAI