Nation’s AI revenues reaching $71.8 billion last year: official
Published: Feb 26, 2023 07:57 PM
AI Photo: VCG

AI Photo: VCG

The industry scale of artificial intelligence (AI) in China has exceeded 500 billion yuan ($71.8 billion), an official said on Saturday. Industry insiders said China has a large number of AI scientists, a wide range of application scenarios and first-mover advantage in the field.

With the fast development of AI, China has formed a relatively complete industrial system, with core AI industry scale exceeding 500 billion yuan and the number of AI-related enterprises approaching 4,000, Ren Aiguang, an official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said on Saturday at the Global AI Developer Conference in Shanghai.

"Innovations such as open-source frameworks for smart chips and smart terminals continue to emerge in China. AI is increasingly integrated into thousands of industries, becoming an important driving force for industrial transformation and upgrading," said Ren.

China has witnessed a fast development of AI and related smart sectors in the past few years. According to the MIIT, with the scale of the AI sector growing by 700 percent between 2019 and 2022.

The scale of China's AI core industry is expected to exceed 600 billion yuan in 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 24.8 percent, according to an estimate made by the China Center for Information Industry Development.

There are several prominent areas of AI in China. Beijing, for example, had 1,048 AI enterprises as of October 2022, accounting for 29 percent of the national scale, according to a white paper released on February 14.

Cities have set their own goals for AI development. By 2025, the scale of the AI industry in Shanghai is expected to reach 400 billion yuan, read Shanghai's 14th Five-Year plan (2021-25) for AI industry development released in December 2021.

"AI has become a key field of international competition. The ministry will maintain the stability and smooth operation of global smart industrial and supply chains, and usher in a new phase of international cooperation featuring joint contributions, shared benefits and win-win results," said Ren.

AI technology is an essential path to industrial upgrading and will be widely used in various fields. It has profound strategic significance for the competition between major economies, Zhang Xiaorong, director of the Beijing-based Cutting-Edge Technology Research Institute, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"China has a large base of scientific talent and a huge market that accommodates a wide range of application scenarios, so it owns a certain first-mover advantage in AI," a chip researcher who declined to be identified told the Global Times on Sunday.

But analysts said that the tech suppression by the US on China will continue, so China has to develop its own chips and AI technologies.

"Core technologies cannot be bought or exchanged. Only by mastering core science and technology can we no longer be controlled by others, and achieve industrial independence and promote economic development," said Zhang.

The development of independent and controllable chip and AI industry standards and ecosystems are the objective needs of national development, Zhang noted.

The chip researcher said that the US crackdown has hindered the development of China's high-tech sector, but at the same time forced China to accelerate and develop its own technologies.