iFlytek slashes AI model prices amid tech price war in China

To compete with the reduced prices offered by its rivals, iFlytek has made its Spark Lite version available for free public use.

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AI firm iFlytek has entered a price war among China’s top tech companies by significantly reducing the cost of its ‘Spark’ large-language model (LLM). iFlytek’s move follows recent price cuts by Alibaba, Baidu, and Bytedance for their own LLMs used in generative AI products. Spark Lite, launched last September, is now free for public use, while Spark Pro and Max versions are priced at just 0.21 yuan (less than 3 cents) per 10,000 tokens, which is five times cheaper than competitors.

iFlytek claims that Spark surpasses ChatGPT 3.5 in Chinese language tasks and performs comparably in English. The Hefei-based company, renowned for its voice recognition technology, highlighted that Spark’s pricing allows significant cost savings. For instance, Spark Max can generate the entirety of Yu Hua’s novel ‘To Live’ for just 2.1 yuan ($0.29).

State-owned China Mobile, holding a 10% stake in iFlytek, is its largest shareholder. Strategic pricing aims to make advanced AI technology more accessible to the public while challenging the market dominance of other tech giants.