With the race for artificial intelligence (AI) proving to be a fierce competition not only between companies but also nations, both China and the US appear to be leading the pack.
The two nations have been trying to expedite their AI efforts through funding and policy backing in an effort to outdo each other.
Recently, ABI Research’s Monday report revealed that artificial intelligence startups in China had managed to raise almost $5 billion in VC financing last year (2017). This revelation marks yet another part of the AI race whereby China has managed to outperform the US.
According to the report, the total investments in AI startups grew 150% globally year-over-year in 2017, specifically from $4 billion back in 2016 to $10.7 billion in 2017.
While AI startups in the United States secured $4.4 billion from about 155 investment deals, their Chinese counterparts managed to raise $4.9 billion from a much smaller number of investments, 19. Based on the report, this marks a focus on mature AI applications coupled with successful use cases and strong commercial viability.
The Chinese government has made AI its focus, particularly by outlining a massive policy plan that calls for the country to become a leading global AI innovation center by 2030 through luring more investment in AI startups.
The biggest investments in Chinese startups were made in personalized applications and facial recognition technologies.
Lian Jye Su, the head analyst at ABI Research, said the bullish sentiment exchanged amongst Chinese investors serves as a clear indication that China is completely venturing into artificial intelligence.
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As such, the Chinese government is currently creating clear policy guidelines to govern the future development of artificial intelligence(AI). Startups, on the other hand, are continuously producing advanced AI technologies across various industries in the country.
China is currently investing considerably in developing artificial intelligence (AI) talent. The MIT Technology Review revealed that since 2014, the country has generated more research papers based on deep learning yearly than any other nation in the world.
Although AI chips have been a major impediment for China, two companies in China raised $100 million each in 2017 in an effort to design and make purpose-built artificial intelligence(AI) chipsets mainly for machine vision. In fact, unveiling a “Made in China” chipset is a key priority for the Chinese government.
The ABI Research report found out that other parts of the world are also making progress as far as the AI space is concerned. For instance, European nations are presently taking a long-term approach to investment in AI.
Towards this effort, startups in the region are exploring use cases in various fields including the Internet of Things, healthcare, public safety, digital identification, and Cybersecurity.
Alternatively, the United States has adopted a more balanced approach that combines both short and long-term. For short-term approaches, it is investing in projects that could transform into immediate commercial opportunities.
On the other hand, long-term investments are directed to transformative technologies in industries such as finance, agriculture, and automotive industries.