China has unique advantages in artificial intelligence R&D, but it also lags behind in some areas, a research report has said. AI will become a major growth engine in the next decade. In 2018, 12 countries and regions set up national strategies on AI, according to the report.

The report was issued by the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development and the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Next-generation Artificial Intelligence Development and Research Center. Globally speaking, China and US have the leading AI industries in terms of the number of business and fund-raising, the report said.

In 2018, there were 15,916 AI firms globally. US heads list with 4,567, followed by China with 3,341. Over US$78.5 billion was raised by 13,331 firms, according to the Wuzhen Institute. AI has made firms “smarter,” creating new business and marketing models, with customized services and improved efficiency, according to the report.

On international cooperation networks, China and the United States are two “core nodes” of research. Between 2013 and 2018, 300,000 AI papers were recorded and tracked, 74,400 from China and 51,800 from the US. In China, cooperation and collaboration between research organizations and enterprises still has room to improve. US and Israel lead in the sector, according to the report.

But China has taken efforts to improve AI education. For example, it has published textbooks for middle school students. AI, Internet of Things and big data have been taught in middle schools. Up to now, 85 AI degrees or academic projects have been established in 75 universities. China’s AI firms are clustered in three regions: Beijing and environs, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong and Macau. The three regions cover 83 percent of AI firms and 95 percent of total fund-raising.

Source: Shine