China is at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence development, and it couldn’t be otherwise. The PRC’s sluggish productivity coupled with an aging population and rising incomes has eaten in the country’s traditional advantage of a cheap labour force. This, coupled with the pressure coming from other South-East nations and the difficulties of a radical shift in the country’s production paradigm have called for decisive measures by the central government to sustain and support the future growth of the country.
Investment in advanced technology, automation, new systems (what is usually referred as Made in China 2025), are all part of this plan, where Artificial Intelligence, short AI, is playing a massive, central role. In fact, AI is what will fuel the country’s future development: through its applications in sectors such as automotive, healthcare, retail and security (just to name a few), AI is what will help China make sense of the huge amount of Big Data produced every day and channel it through usable applications to solve the most compelling issues the country is facing nowadays: pollution, traffic congestion, low productivity, overexploitation of public resources and many others.
For these reasons, one shall not be surprised to know that since 2013 to the first quarter of 2018, China has attracted the largest share of investment in the AI sector worldwide (60%), and that at the end of 2017, the PRC’s AI market was worth EUR 3,05 billion, increasing 67% y-o-y.
Nevertheless, the development of AI in China is facing a number of issues that, in return, represent opportunities for EU companies. The main is that China, although rich in financial resources, lags behind in term of AI talents, especially on the hardware side. This reflects in the fact that China is very strong when it comes to the development of application, but much less when it comes to the development of core technology.
What does this all mean for EU SMEs? A lot. It means that opportunities are out there available for those companies with the right products and services that can match the demand coming from the Chinese AI sector. Among them, the creation of local R&D centres, trainings, technology transfer, joint research labs and many others.
Naturally, challenges are also ahead for those companies seeking to establish a foothold in this market: IPR issues, financing, development of local networks and others are all aspects that should be carefully weighed before stepping into the local competition.
Understanding the status of the AI market in China, the opportunities and the challenges, the best practices and the most effective access paths, is paramount for every single company, organization or institution looking to expand into that market maximizing the benefits and reducing the potential threats. To this aim, the EU SME Centre has decided to develop a New Report on the Artificial Intelligence market in China.
1.What is AI?
- Definition of AI
- Artificial Intelligence in China
2. AI in use
- Applications of AI in China
3. AI in China And The Possibilities For Europe
- Opportunities and challenges for European companies
- Practical advice
- Conclusions and recommendations
- The Major Chinese AI Players and their technologies
- The Chinese Niche AI Players and their technologies
5. Useful Resources