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China’s AI industry to balloon as new infrastructure unfolds

(ATF) A new report lays out China’s plan for the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially within the context of the country’s massive new infrastructure plans.

Under the wave of new infrastructure, the development of artificial intelligence is being accelerated in multi-directional ways and with various in-depth collaboration projects in emerging technologies such as big data, cloud computing, 5G, and the Internet of Things. And the process of commercialised technology is gradually accelerating.

The former deputy director of the State Council’s Development Research Center has said that digital technology will build a new industrial ecology and form a stronger innovation vitality. The digital economy would lead a new economic wave and become a new engine of development for China.

The scale of China’s core artificial intelligence industry exceeded 51 billion yuan (US$7.3 billion) in 2019 and is expected to exceed 100 billion yuan by 2030.

Analysts with IiMedia Consulting believe that the introduction of a new national infrastructure strategy this year will promote the full industrialisation of artificial intelligence from many aspects, such as policy resources, technological ecology, application scenarios, and the scale of core industries will continue to grow strongly.

Artificial intelligence is rapidly expanding both horizontally and vertically, and the companies involved are in demand.

But as Tencent noted in a separate report, many AI companies fail. It published a “death list” of all failed AI ventures from 2017-2020. Once a technology becomes trendy, or a buzzword, it attracts a lot of grifters and speculators, it said.

China is providing a huge feeding trough with its infrastructure plans. But government money means government involvement. The advent of opportunities often brings challenges, such as data security, privacy protection, process supervision and other issues that cannot be ignored.

‘Governance standards needed’

IiMedia Consulting analysts believe that technology is a double-edged sword and a supporting system of governance standards is needed to ensure the sustainable and healthy development of related industries. The market’s increased risk will accelerate without the introduction of relevant governance systems, IiMedia said. 

This is a very different attitude to Western AI developers.

For example, San Francisco-based AI research company OpenAI, backed by tech giants Microsoft and entrepreneur Elon Musk, aims to “ensure that artificial intelligence benefits all of humanity”.

The company is private and not asking the government to regulate it.

When the artificial intelligence of China’s construction meets the Open AI, it is hard to speculate what the result will be. 

Chris Gill

With over 30 years reporting on China, Gill offers a daily digest of what is happening in the PRC.


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