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Plans announced to set up US$2.1 billion technology park dedicated to artificial intelligence in Beijing

Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, reported recently that a new technology park dedicated to the development of artificial intelligence technologies will be built in Beijing in five years, with an investment of 13.8 billion Yuan or around US$2.1 billion.

The park, covering 54.87 hectares, will be situated in suburban Mentougou district in western Beijing and it will be developed by a company of Zhongguancun Development Group (ZDG). ZDG is a State-Owned Enterprise funded by the Beijing Municipal Government.

According to Xinhua, the developer will seek partnership with Chinese and overseas universities, research institutes and large companies to establish various research centres in the park, including a national-level artificial intelligence lab.

The park is expected to attract about 400 enterprises, with an estimated annual output value of about 50 billion yuan (about US$7.7 billion). It is expected to become a venue for smart pilot demonstrations.

Areas of focus will include ultra-high-speed big data, cloud computing, biometric identification and deep learning. Its technological infrastructure would include a 5G mobile network, supercomputing centres and specialised cloud services. Industry data resource sharing platforms will be developed for sectors such as healthcare and education.

China's AI industry grew by 43.3 percent during 2016, surpassing 10 billion Yuan (USD 1.47 billion), and it is expected to reach 15.21 billion and 34.43 billion Yuan in 2017 and 2019 respectively. 15,745 AI patents were filed from the country, ranking second worldwide.

Last year, the Chinese State Council laid out an AI strategy, with the aim of growing the country’s core AI industries to a scale of over 1 trillion Yuan (USD 150 billion; a 100 times increase over the 2016 number), driving related industries to exceed more than 10 trillion Yuan by 2030.

The plan seeks to leverage China’s advantages, but it also recognises the current shortcomings, such as lagging the US in basic research. It goes on to lay out steps to deal with the problems. The plan identifies six tasks, including the establishment of an open and collaborative AI technology innovation system, cultivation of high-end and efficient intelligent economy, building a safe, convenient and intelligent society, strengthening civilian-military integration in AI field and building an extensive, safe, efficient, intelligent infrastructure system.

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