According to the Ranking of AI Calculation Capacity issued by a research institute, among the top five cities, three of them are from the Yangtze River Delta. The Zhangjiang National Comprehensive Science Center in Shanghai and Hefei National Comprehensive Science Center, two of the three national comprehensive science centers, are located in the Yangtze River Delta. In this region, the complete AI industrial chain and the vibrant environment for innovation make AI technology emerge from East China.
Yangtze River Delta as the foundation of AI technology
Calculation capacity, algorithm and data are the three foundations of the development of AI industry, and their layout in Yangtze River Delta is advanced.
Recently, International Data Group and Inspur Group jointly released the Evaluation Report of China’s AI Calculation Capacity 2018-2019. The top 5 cities in calculation capacity are Hangzhou, Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Hefei successively.
In terms of algorithm, the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei plays an important role. Enterprises such as iFlytek, Cambricon and Unisound are incubated in USTC. Three of the five national AI open innovation platforms are located in this area, namely the self-driving project from Baidu, the City Brain Lab from Alibaba and the medical imaging project from Tencent.
In terms of data, with the regional integrated development of Yangtze River Delta, the cross-regional data sharing is now under top-level design, which shall serve as the promoter for the implementation of AI technology in the region. Hefei and Hangzhou are two of the cities in China which formulate relevant regulations about big data in an earlier stage. With Shanghai’s promulgation of Implementation Plan of Promoting Data Governance and Public Data Use, the collection and cross-departmental sharing of public data have their route plans now.
Innovation ecosystem is growing rapidly in this region. In WAIC 2018, a number of AI innovation projects across the world have been signed to land in Shanghai, including the establishment of Amazon AWS Shanghai AI Research Institute, Microsoft-INESA AI Innovation Center and Microsoft Research Asia-Shanghai, and iFlytek’s AI and Brain Science Research Institute.
The Best Testing Field for AI Technology
The opportunity of AI lies in industrial Internet. “AI+” is a tool, which can be used for the cost reduction and efficiency improvement in many traditional sectors such as finance, healthcare, transportation and manufacture. And in this regard, the Yangtze River Delta has unprevailed resources.
Zhu Mingjie, founder of the AI financial company Creditx, said “the reason for us to set our headquarters in Shanghai is the short distance to our clients.” AI is the key of financial institutions to improve the ability of intelligent risk control.
Considering the industrial layout, the AI enterprises in the region have wide business ranges. “Intelligent Eye” featured by the facial recognition of Yitu Tech and Sensetime and the industrial visual technology of Tunicorn; “Intelligent Ear” featured by the voice transcribing and translating tool from iFlytek and Tencent; “Intelligent Brain” featured by the AI-assisted diagnostics from United Imaging and the City Data Brain developed by Hangzhou Municipality; “Intelligent Chip” featured by general AI chip from Cambricon and IoT core communication chip developed by Espressif; “Intelligent Vehicle” featured by the heavy-load truck from Westwell, all those examples reflect the extensive application of AI technology in security, conference, healthcare, education and other fields.
Speaking of Hefei, Song Guoquan, Party Secretary of the CPC Hefei Committee said that the city has opportunity, advantage, situation, foundation and confidence in the development of AI industry through a new route. The feature of Hefei’s development in recent years is technological innovation and industrial innovation. The city boasts a strong resources in scientific research, technological talents and business environment, which promote the high-quality development of its economy.
According to Wu Jincheng, Director of SHEITC, nowadays Shanghai has formed a development pattern that is led by Xuhui Binjiang, Pudong Zhangjiang and other key innovation demonstration areas, and is co-supported by Yangpu, Changning, Minhang, Jing’an and other districts. The city is working on breakthroughs in key technology, application environment, industrial cluster cultivation, and the accumulation of global innovation elements, in order to promote the in-depth and integrated development of artificial intelligence and real economy, build the intelligent economic pattern featured by data-orientation, human-computer collaboration, cross-sector integration and sharing, and fasten the establishment of Shanghai as a highland of AI industry.
More Time and Space for AI Technology
Recently, the Ministry of Education released the records and approval of undergraduate majors of regular institutions for higher education in 2018. 35 universities and institutions across the nation have been authorized to establish artificial intelligence as a major, including 9 universities from the Yangtze River Delta, such as Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tongji University and Nanjing University, symbolizing the talent advantage in this region.
Zha Zhengjun, Professor of the Department of Automation at the University of Science and Technology of China, said that, since 2017, the university has set up artificial intelligence as a major for undergraduate students. Considering the comprehensiveness and inter-discipline of this subject, the cultivation has adopted a mode of X+2, which means students will take a selective exam in the third year and the university is going to have its first batch of graduates with the bachelor’s degree in artificial intelligence.
Nowadays municipalities and provinces like Shanghai, Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu have formulated their action plans for AI industry. For example, Xuhui District, which is one of the major venues of the “Shanghai’s National AI Highland Establishment Strategy”, is subsidizing AI companies with a fund up to 20 million Yuan, Anhui Province proclaims to develop the scale of AI industry to 150 billion Yuan by 2030 and Zhejiang Province plans to set up a FOF of 1 billion Yuan for the development of AI technology and talent.
Experts suggest that various parties shall have more patience in the development of AI industry and give the industry more time and space.
Reporter: Zhou Lin
Source: Xinhua News Agency