China accelerates AI development to build AI innovation center
Updated: April 6, 2024 07:03 Xinhua

BEIJING, April 5 -- China has attached great importance to artificial intelligence (AI) development in recent years to build itself into a major global AI innovation center.

Technologies such as face recognition, voice recognition, intelligent robots, virtual reality, and driverless vehicles, have been widely used in the country, covering fields like education, medical care, science and technology, logistics, agriculture, and entertainment.

According to a development plan for new-generation AI, China aims to become the world's major AI innovation center by 2030, with the scale of its AI core industry exceeding 1 trillion yuan (about 140.9 billion U.S. dollars), and the scale of related industries exceeding 10 trillion yuan.

China has introduced policies in terms of scientific and technological research and development (R&D), application promotion, and industrial development, to solve major application and industrialization problems of artificial intelligence.

Many local governments are also accelerating the integration of innovation resources to promote the development of AI technology and related industries.

Beijing boasts rich AI talent resources, strong R&D and innovation capabilities, and active product iteration in the field of AI development.

According to a report on the development of China's AI industry in 2023, Beijing has about 28 percent of the country's 2,200 AI enterprises, ranking first in the country.

Last year, Beijing released a detailed plan to promote the development of AI. According to the plan, by 2025, the scale of its AI core industry is scheduled to reach 300 billion yuan.

At present, Beijing is speeding up the layout of frontier AI basic theory and key core technologies.

Other Chinese regions such as Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui, and Sichuan are also seizing AI opportunities.

The city of Shenzhen in Guangdong plans to build a national pilot zone for AI innovation and a national demonstration zone for AI application. AI will be among the key technologies to receive the support of the municipal government.

Shanghai is also promoting the high-quality development of the AI industry and fostering an ecology for large-model innovation. Over 20 AI large models have passed the audit and record of local government, said Zhang Ying, head of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization.

The city's innovation center for large model industrial application has attracted nearly 60 enterprises in less than half a year after its operation, Zhang said.

The total scale of China's AI core industry has reached 500 billion yuan, and the number of related enterprises has exceeded 4,300, sources from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said.

As a strategic technology leading a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial change, AI technology will promote the deep integration of digital technology and the real economy, and foster new industries, said Liu Qingfeng, chairman of iFlytek.

In his eyes, China has formed a comparative advantage in the fields of voice large model and medical large model.

However, some experts noted that there is still a gap between China and other countries in terms of underlying algorithms, key hardware and software, and the ecosystem of AI.

The scientific and technological community must work with enterprises to promote technological development and industrial change in the future, including accelerating the cultivation of a large model open innovation ecosystem and promoting the cultivation of top innovative talent, they said.

China has a broad market for AI applications, but it still faces challenges in terms of basic technologies and talent, according to Dai Qionghai, chairman of the Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence and a Tsinghua University professor.

"We should deepen the training of AI talent, enhance basic research, and strengthen original innovation in terms of policies, mechanisms and investment," he said.

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