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The Rise of AI in China: When the Chinese AI ecosystem flourish globally

DIGITAL VENTURES July 10, 2018 4:12 PM


Speaking of leading tech nations, aside from the USA and the UK, Asia’s giant like China will surely be top of the list. Take a closer look at the type of technology and AI is top of mind for most industries. In this sector, China is considered to be the among the top developers of the world.



What drives the ecosystem in China to become so efficient in developing this technology? Let us take a look at the AI ecosystem in this country.

AI development plan by the “government”.

The government supports the private sector to develop feasible innovation that has economic value. The Chinese government has a concrete plan to support AI. In July 2017, the government established the “New Generation AI Development Plan” which plans to support AI research based on the current change. The main objective is to raise the AI industry market value to 1 trillion RMB (around 5 trillion THB) by 2030.

The AI development is part of a project in China called “Science and Technology Innovation 2030 Megaprojects”. This project focuses on developing disruptive tech innovation and emphasizes long-term development that will benefit the country’s economy and society.

The government has also announced a collaboration with three Chinese giant tech firms wherein each company will develop AI application in different aspects namely Baidu for AI autonomous vehicle, Alibaba for smart city, and Tencent for intelligent healthcare.



China’s leading tech firms are excited about AI.

Aside from collaborations with the government, Chinese giant tech firms are quite active in AI development. Each has their own special AI development team and has started research before the technology was widely commercialized in the past year. For instance, Baidu began developing Natural Language Process (NLP) and machine learning since 2010. This was before Google began serious machine learning development in 2015.

Moreover, tech giants, Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba are leading investors in AI startups. This has provided China with the highest investment in the world for this sector. Also, they invest in AI startups at the world’s leading tech startup ecosystems such as Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv. Additionally, they invest in startups that support AI products such as robotics which can be beneficial for manufacturing in the future.


Startups, a player that fulfills the ecosystem.

Aside from the public and private sector, startups are also crucial to China’s AI ecosystem. This includes both local and foreign startups that are invested by Chinese companies with the highest investment portion in the world, as mentioned earlier.




The startup that has received the highest funding, according to CBinsight, is a startup in computer vision by AI. This technology can be applied to various innovation such as autonomous vehicles, smart city, security, public health, and preliminary diagnosis. Examples of startups in the field are China’s SenseTime and Israel’s Nexar which China has invested in.


Partnering with foreign corporates is what makes China among the core AI players of the world.

China’s plan and investment support alone may not boost the AI ecosystem in China. China needs to collaborate with large firms and startups around the world. This is significant both for the economy and innovation development.

In the global market, China benefits from being the manufacturing base of the world. China is the hardware manufacturer for global AI product developers such as the smart speaker which is designed by a US company solely for exports. In the domestic market, China joins with startups to create AI that only serves local demand such as Chinese language NLP which makes AI communicate in Chinese.

Partnering with large foreign corporates and investing in startups are important strategies that help China drive the ecosystem. China remains to manufacture technological products for exports and increase AI knowledge via investing in foreign startups especially regarding the production and industrial sector. Not only do they acquire the technology, but this also gives them a better opportunity to enter markets in those countries.

This is the overview of AI in China that is quickly and firmly growing from the synchronized support from everyone in the ecosystem. According to China’s innovation development plan, there are many more technologies that China is supporting. Follow Digital Ventures for more updates.

Reference: https://www.cbinsights.com