Shanghai gears up to be AI hub
An intelligent robot shakes hands with a visitor at 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Sept 19. [Photo/VCG]
As the artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem takes shape in Shanghai, the city is looking to lead the pack by becoming a national and global highland for AI.
Statistics show that Shanghai is already home to one-third of the nation's AI technical professionals, 1,000 companies with AI as its core business and 3,000 AI-related enterprises.
Since being made a priority among Shanghai's development strategies in 2018, AI industry in the city has entered into the fast lane of development and was worth about 70 billion yuan ($10.16 billion) by the end of 2018, ranking first in China.
Last year saw a number of positive signals in the developing AI industry. The first World Artificial Intelligence Conference brought 20 major AI innovation projects to Shanghai, including industrial funds, research institutes, innovation platforms and laboratories.
This year on May 21, China's first pilot zone for the innovation and application of AI technology was inaugurated in Pudong New Area.
Why Shanghai? The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology gives four reasons: a complete range of industries, big data resources, well-grounded smart applications and high-quality universities and research institutes.
On May 24, the Microsoft-INESA AI Innovation Center launched its AI talent training system which, when inaugurated in Shanghai, hopes to bring world-class AI research capabilities to the city.
"Professionals in this field are urgently needed now. We need talents who can do research and practical work," said Cai Xiaoqing, president of Shanghai INESA Group, a developer of information technology and smart city construction.
Shanghai has formed an alliance for its AI advantages, utiliizing government power to support industry development and making plans to set up investment funds for AI projects.
To expand the applications of AI technology, the city is actively combining AI with various fields such as medical care, education, manufacturing and transportation, and will collect solutions from global AI companies.
Moving forward, Shanghai is going to hold the second World Artificial Intelligence Conference from Aug 29 to 31, discussing a variety of topics from machine learning, chips and smart hardware to autonomous driving and 5G.
In line with the nation's plans to build a 1 trillion yuan AI industry by 2030, the city is eyeing becoming a global AI hub with plans to expand the industry scale to more than 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) by 2020.