China’s AI Funding Made Up 75% of World Total in First Half

DOU SHICONG

(Yicai Global) Dec. 10 — China invested USD31.7 billion in artificial intelligence technology over the first six months of this year, occupying almost three quarters of the worldwide total.

The global figure was USD43.5 billion, Zhang Xueli of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology said at an annual industry conference yesterday, adding that China’s AI sector had seen explosive growth in recent years.

The country had 1,122 AI companies as of September, the second-largest share of the world’s 5,159, according to state-backed China News Service. Beijing had 445, making it home to more than any other city.

Despite the rapid growth, China’s AI sector is not without its issues.

“The country has more application oriented-companies, but fewer that focus on research and development — especially in the field of AI chips,” Zhang said. “Domestic firms have starting making moves, but they cannot stir the unshakeable status of existing international giants.”

The Wu Wenjun Artificial Intelligence Science and Technology Awards, named after renowned mathematician Wu Wenjun and viewed as China’s highest AI accolade, also took place during the conference, which was held at the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park in Jiangsu province.

There were 70 winners in total, spanning 56 domestic education institutions, 48 companies and seven other organizations. Lu Ruqian, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, won the ‘highest achievement’ award.

Editor: James Boynton

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