Seven years ago, Google took the decision to leave the people of China to their own search engines. However, now, the technology giant’s looking to come back to the Chinese market, but this time with some artificial intelligence (AI) on board.
TensorFlow is Google’s high-tech software that allows people to build AI systems much easier than ever before and the company’s using it as a way to get back in with China. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., is also looking to invest in the Chinese AI market.
“China is a tremendous opportunity for any company because it is by far the single largest homogenous market,” said Kai-Fu Lee, previous head of Google’s China operations. Given how many people there are online in China, it’s of no real surprise that Google wants to get in there and use that data to promote their products, particularly those relating to AI.
While there are a great deal of hurdles to get over before Google can cash in on its AI tools in China, including stiff competition from Chinese search engine providers, Baidu Inc, the company is going full steam ahead. As part of its reentry, Google’s experts have looked into various ways of getting back in the door, including activating its mobile app store there. But as of yet, there’s still no joy.
One of the company’s latest attempt to win over the Chinese is a little different from the rest. Rather than try and tempt them with another gadget, Google’s latest efforts have seen it training up developers in the country and getting them hooked on its AI building blocks. Once they know what’s on offer, they’ll want to sign up for the full service themselves.
China seems an obvious choice for Google to crack really, as the country has one of the fastest-growing TensorFlow developer communities in Asia (even though Google’s cloud services are unavailable there). Matroid Inc., hosted a conference using TensorFlow earlier this year. Within the hour, the presentations slides were translated into Mandarin Chinese and published on WeChat, one of China’s main social network services.
While the company’s latest efforts to get back in the Chinese market, it’s unlikely to deter the tech giant’s any time soon. Google has already begun hiring AI related staff in various Chinese mega-cities as well as sending some of its own staff there too.