Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays an important part in Beijings «Made in China 2025» plan. China wants to become a global leader in the AI field by 2030 and now has an edge in terms of academic papers, patents and both cross-border and global AI funding. In 2017, 48 per cent of total equity funding of AI start-ups globally came from China (in 2016, it was only 11.3 per cent), compared to 38 per cent funded by the US, and 13 per cent by the rest of the world.
China has a three-step plan: firstly, it must be able to keep pace with all leading AI technology, and its application in general, by 2020. Part two is to make major breakthroughs by 2025, which is intended to lead to the third part of the plan the establishment of China as the world leader in the AI field by 2030.
AI will be applied to medicine, robotics, driverless vehicles, computer chips, financial services, retail, etc. The Chinese government has set the goal of having a manufacturing industry in place for sensors and embedded chips for driverless vehicles with production value exceeding US$1.4 billion by 2020.
The Chinese AI industry has grown 67 per cent over the past year and produced more patents and research papers than the US. This is despite having access to about a fifth of Americas talent pool.
There are more than 3,000 AI start-ups around the world. The US leads in quantity, followed by China, then Israel, Britain and Canada.
Chinese AI companies are mostly located in Chinas largest megacities Beijing and Shanghai.