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Shanghai positions itself as nation's AI hub

By Wang Ying in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-15 07:04

Shanghai is looking to become China's hot-spot for artificial intelligence and wants to expand the industry scale in the city to more than 100 billion yuan ($15.06 million) by 2020, according to a new municipal plan issued on Tuesday.

The Opinion on Promoting the City's Next Generation of AI Development was published on the municipal government website, outlining 21 measures to boost the industry. These include steps like forming a world class industry cluster, nurturing 10 benchmark AI innovative enterprises with substantial influence, building six AI innovative application demonstration areas and launching more than 100 application demonstration projects.

"Shanghai's rich big data resources, wide application of smart technologies, sufficient industries, as well as its affluent research talents have laid a solid foundation for the development of the AI industry," said Chen Mingbo, director of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Technology.

According to Chen, although Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, the trio of Chinese internet giants, are not based in Shanghai, the city could be the birthplace of AI unicorn companies, as its conditions are mature.

But to achieve such a goal, Chen said Shanghai should deepen the integration of AI and related industries including high-end equipment, integrated circuits, biomedical, and automotive to establish a set of innovation centers for intelligent manufacturing and industrial internet.

In addition, AI industrial clusters will be built across the city with different focuses like intelligent driving, intelligent robots, intelligent software and hardware. Tailor-made policies will be in place for attracting better talent both from home and abroad to Shanghai, and a strategic advisory committee for experts will be established to aid the city's AI planning and development, Chen said.

"Shanghai is currently building an AI development alliance, and nearly 300 major enterprises, investment and financing institutions, as well as research institutions have been tapped. We will work on attracting global AI enterprises to locate their regional headquarters and innovation centers in Shanghai," Chen said.

As a cutting-edge technology that is sought after worldwide, the AI industry is regarded a new growth engine for Shanghai, a city with special advantages in big database, industrial foundation, and sufficient talents from universities and institutions, according to Chen, adding that the massive data resources are the first and foremost element for developing AI technology.

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