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AI a new growth engine for Beijing

By Du Juan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-11-24 15:35

A visitor experiences artificial intelligence equipment at an exhibition in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, on April 28. [Photo by Meng Delong/For China Daily]

The artificial intelligence industry has developed into a new economic growth engine for Beijing, with the city's AI-related output reaching 170 billion yuan ($25.83 billion) over the past year, a year-on-year increase of 13.3 percent, according to a report released recently by the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence.

For the first half of this year, Beijing's AI industry continued growing despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The total value of AI reached 95 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 5.7 percent.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Beijing has given full play to its advantages in information technology, including AI and big data, deploying more than 20 scientific and technological projects.

At present, there are about 1,500 AI-related companies in Beijing, accounting for 28 percent of the country's total. Beijing is home to 32 AI unicorn companies — startups valued at $1 billion or more that have yet to go public.

The majority of those companies are located in Haidian and Chaoyang districts, showing a trend of agglomeration.

As of the end of June, the total financing of Beijing's AI companies had exceeded 300 billion yuan, and the city has become the largest pool for AI-related talent in China, the report said.

Beijing now is leading the country in 17 areas of AI development and is gradually forming an AI industry ecosystem with global influence.

The report also outlined how Beijing is planning to invest a total of around 20 billion yuan focused on key areas, including healthcare, urban governance, the 2022 Winter Olympics, government affairs, transportation and education, all of which offer a sound environment for AI-related innovations.

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