Chinese provinces, cities make strides in accelerating self-reliance in AI technology
Published: Nov 13, 2023 09:45 PM
A concept photo of AI Photo: VCG

A concept photo of AI Photo: VCG

Against the backdrop of the nation's push to enhance high-tech self-reliance and promote industrial upgrading, Chinese provinces and cities have successively introduced strategic plans to advance the development of artificial intelligence (AI), aiming to seize the initiative in the new wave of technology and emerge as industry leaders globally.

South China's Guangdong Province, as the latest example, on Monday issued guidance on accelerating the construction of a leading hub for AI innovation, seeking to achieve national leadership and global excellence in intelligent computing power by 2025, establishing a well-rounded innovation framework for AI technology and further expanding high-level AI application scenarios.

The province aims to reach an industry scale of 300 billion yuan ($41.12 billion), with the participation of more than 2,000 enterprises, and cultivate Guangdong into a front-runner for national innovation led by AI.

Aligned with these overarching goals, Guangdong has devised detailed implementation steps, including the establishment of a comprehensive ecosystem for AI-led computing power, the creation of key nodes in the national computing power network, and the development of city-level computing platforms that are in line with international standards.

The province also vowed to strengthen key technological breakthroughs in large language models (LLM), strive to develop a "data special zone" within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), and explore mechanisms for cross-border data circulation.

On November 7, Shanghai announced 11 measures for the innovative development of AI LLMs in 2023-25, focusing on supporting the innovation capability of LLMs, enhancing the supply of innovation elements, promoting innovative application, and creating a first-class innovation environment.

The city plans to establish an LLM Testing and Evaluation Center, implement an LLM intelligent computing power acceleration plan, and build a software and hardware collaborative ecosystem for intelligent chips.

Other cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen in Guangdong Province and Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province have rolled out AI technology advancement plans.

AI and other cutting-edge technologies are sparking a new wave of innovation globally. China's economy is undergoing a crucial transformation, and technology can provide new momentum for economic growth, experts said on Monday. They noted that there is a pressing need across provinces and cities to expedite the development of AI, especially amid the ill-intended US "decoupling" push against China in the field.

Shanghai, situated in the Yangtze River Delta, and Guangdong, backed by the Pearl River Delta, have strong manufacturing foundations, Pan Helin, joint director of the Research Center for Digital Economics and Financial Innovation, affiliated with Zhejiang University's International Business School, told the Global Times on Monday.

Shanghai's advantage lies in its ability to seamlessly integrate technological innovation with global finance, leveraging domestic and international capital resources to drive the revitalization and growth of the technology industry, Pan said.

For Guangdong, technology has the potential to empower the manufacturing industry. Leveraging the GBA, it could seek to integrate technology, industry, academia, and applications, promoting collaborative development, Pan noted.

Despite ongoing US efforts to restrict China's development in high-tech areas such as semiconductors, China has still achieved breakthroughs and advances in high-tech fields over recent years, including smartphones, operating systems, secure and controllable databases and more, Wang Peng, an associate researcher at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.

Government policies have played a significant role, highlighting China's institutional strength in mobilizing and pooling nationwide efforts to tackle major issues, Wang said.

Local and central governments, along with collaboration across industries, have formed an "organic interaction," working together to overcome challenges and obstacles, Wang noted.

China's AI industry has been thriving, reaching a scale of 500 billion yuan with the number of enterprises surpassing 4,300. Continuous innovation has led to a steady stream of achievements, data from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed in July.