Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Business / Technology

Nation takes big strides in funding AI firms

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-04 15:26
Share - WeChat

China is gradually shaping up to be a global leader in the field of artificial intelligence, as it has for the first time surpassed the United States in equity funding to AI startups, according to a recent report.

The report, released by US-based venture capital database CB Insights, said that AI startups worldwide raised more than $15.2 billion in 2017, up 141 percent from 2016. China's AI startups accounted for nearly 50 percent of the global funding, up from 11.3 percent of the total in 2016. The US was ranked second with 38 percent.

According to the report, China has also overtaken the US in AI-related patent publications. Chinese patent publications with the keywords of artificial intelligence in the title and abstract increased from 328 in 2016 to 641 in 2017, compared to 108 and 130 for the US, respectively.

The US still tops in the number of AI startups and total equity deals, but it is gradually losing the global deal share, CB Insights said.

Hao Liyang, an analyst at China Internet Network Information Center, said China is ramping up efforts to increase its AI initiatives, as it strives to gain key competitiveness in the burgeoning space worldwide.

"China has made significant progress in technological research and development as well as industrial applications. The rapid development further integrates AI to electronic terminals and is reshaping a wide range of sectors, including home appliances, robots, healthcare, education, finance and agriculture," Hao said.

Specifically, two key technologies driving China's AI growth are facial reconciliation and AI chips and companies are putting huge amounts of investment in the two sectors. The former promotes the government ambitious national surveillance plans, and the latter directly challenges the US-made chip sector, CB Insights noted in the report.

Chinese AI startup Megvii Technology, which reportedly had a unicorn valuation of more than $2 billion last year, has obtained access to 1.3 billion facial data records of Chinese citizens, according to the report. AI chip maker Cambricon Technologies, which raised $100 million from investors last year, is planning to have one billion devices using its AI intellectual properties in three years.

Last year, the Chinese government laid out plans to become a world leader in AI by 2030. The plan detailed a three-step roadmap, highlighting China's determination to make breakthroughs in key AI technologies and drive its application in manufacturing.

A report by New York-headquartered consultancy Eurasia Group and Beijing-based Sinovation Ventures noted that while China lags behind the US in top AI talent, a huge army of young talent is amassing.

According to the report, with core advantages in huge data sets and flexibility to employ them in AI applications, China will rise to become an AI innovation center at the level of Silicon Valley.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349