China and Artificial Intelligence investments

According to Gartner, China is investing heavily in the adoption of high technology.

There are two factors that drive this:

1. High number of internet users. There is an estimation of 650 million internet and 980 million mobile internet users in 2016.
2. Big consumer base. This gives good expectation in terms of return.

Furthermore, China can develop AI technologies quickly because specific and unique conditions:

  1. The Country has data availability. This means that Chinese have access to large volume of training data due to the fact that they have a different concept of privacy, compared to the west world.
  2. Companies attract the best talents from the competition with aims to bring experience in and deliver results quickly.
  3. Economic availability for investment and acquisitions.

The picture above shows the quantity of investment in US companies. Startups are setting up and supported for development of AI technologies. The existing companies, like the web services providers Baidu, are also investing in this sector because profitable. For example, Baidu’s Silicon Valley Artificial Intelligence Lab (SVAIL) is investing in speech recognition and translate this research into products. The company also is applying AI to automobiles, aiming to mass-produce a driverless car in five years. Only in 2015, the company spent $1.5 billion, which represents the 15% of revenue, on research and development, of which AI is a crucial part.

I believe, the conditions described above are unique for one single Country and it will be hard for anyone else to catch up with it.

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