• Zhongguancun 2013
China likely to outpace US in AI applications: Baidu head
By Ma Si ( chinadaily.com.cn )
Updated: 2017-03-25

China is highly likely to outpace the United States in the application of artificial intelligence, as local companies scramble to experiment with new ideas and benefit from the country's huge user base, a panelist attending the Boao Forum for Asia said on Saturday.

"Though the US leads the world in AI research, Chinese players are very active and have an edge in leveraging the cutting-edge technology to develop products and services," said Zhang Yaqin, president of Baidu.

According to Zhang, the latest wave of AI is driven by progress in big data technology, stronger computing power and the improved ability to build big models.

China's huge consumer market and abundant accumulation of data will push local AI companies forward, Zhang added.

AI has become one of the most popular destinations for investments in China, after supercomputer AlphaGo defeated a world champion in the ancient strategy game Go last year.

Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of Chinese internet company Sougou, said compared to the US, where AI has been researched for 60 years, China is by no means a new player.

"But it is exactly because of the relatively poor AI foundation in China that new technology will find little resistance from old forces and be quickly embraced," he added.

"AI-empowered applications will explode in China, and unleash a bigger potential here than in the US," he said.

Yuan Hui, CEO of Xiaoi, a Chinese robotics firm, said most of the basic research in AI is open to all players now, but the race toward advanced AI applications has just begun.

The sector may have a bubble partly due to mounting enthusiasm from investors and entrepreneurs, but companies that can survive the bubble will have big potential and pioneer China's efforts to become a strong AI nation, Yuan added.