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Is China Emerging as the Global Leader in AI?

Twenty years ago, there was a huge gulf between China and the United States on AI research. While the U.S. was witnessing sustained growth in research efforts by both public institutions and private sectors, China was still conducting low-value-added activities in global manufacturing. But in the intervening years, China has surged to rapidly catch up. From a research perspective, China has become a world leader in AI publications and patents. This trend suggests that China is also poised to become a leader in AI-empowered businesses, such as speech and image recognition applications.

China’s feat is dramatic. According to earlier research — the China AI Development Report 2018 project, which one of us (Li) helped spearhead — as well as an ongoing study of the economic and social impacts of AI technologies, the country’s progress is stunning. China’s global share of research papers in the field of AI has vaulted from 4.26% (1,086) in 1997 to 27.68% in 2017 (37,343), surpassing any other country in the world, including the U.S. — a position it continues to hold. China also consistently files more AI patents than any other country. As of March 2019, the number of Chinese AI firms has reached 1,189, second only to the U.S., which has more than 2,000 active AI firms. These firms focus more on speech (e.g., speech recognition, speech synthesis) and vision (e.g., image recognition, video recognition) than their overseas counterparts.

Read More at https://hbr.org/2021/02/is-china-emerging-as-the-global-leader-in-ai

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