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Political advisors list suggestions to bolster Shanghai's AI sector

By Xing Yi in Shanghai | | Updated: 2020-01-17 15:36
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The third session of the 15th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee opens at the Expo Center in Shanghai on Jan 14. [Photo by Xing Yi /]

Shanghai can tap into the newly-launched bourse for science and technology at the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the further integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region and the development of the Lingang New Area to further boost its artificial intelligence industry, said political advisors during the city's ongoing annual legislative and political consultative sessions.

Xu Jianmin, director of the Economic Commission in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee - the city's political advisory body – also said that the national strategy for the integration of the Yangtze River Delta is set to create application scenarios for innovative AI projects and see more sharing of public data within the region.

He also pointed out that Shanghai will be deepening the implementation of its "Light of the Huangpu River" action, which includes a series of preferential policies to help tech and innovative companies get listed on the Sci-Tech Innovation Board.

According to Xu, Shanghai is home to 1,116 enterprises related to AI, placing it second in the country and fourth in the world in terms of the number of companies. He added that there are presently 183 AI companies in Shanghai with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) and whose combined output value reached 133.98 billion yuan in 2018.

"The local government also can design pilot policies in the Lingang New Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone to attract AI companies to set up their headquarters in the city," he said.

Chen Chong, a political advisor with the Zhigong Party, said legal and ethical issues related to AI will be considered when developing the new industry.

"The municipal People's Congress should accelerate research of legislation on AI, which will regulate the development of AI and reduce the potential risks in areas such as data privacy," she said, adding that the government needs to draft industry standards for AI development as well.

According to the Global AI industry Whitepaper that was published by consultancy company Deloitte in September 2019, China's AI industry has developed rapidly due to strong funding and policy support, with some key technologies even considered to be pioneering in the world.

The report also said Chinese AI enterprises registered high growth rates in the fields of education, business intelligence and facial recognition. The notable companies in these areas, Squirrel AI, Bytedance and CloudWalk, grew at a rate of over 5,000 percent, 700 percent and 600 percent, respectively.

The report estimated the global AI market is likely to see phenomenal growth and achieve a market value of over $6 trillion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent from 2017 to 2025.

First-tier cities such as Shanghai and Beijing have long led in terms of the number of talents and enterprises, capital environment and R&D strengths, it added.

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