Shanghai's foundation model industry reaches new benchmark

(en.sh-italent.com)Updated : 2024-06-24


The SMC Shanghai Foundation Model Innovation Center stands as one of China's first dedicated incubators and accelerators for large-scale AI models. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

In the realm of artificial intelligence, one of Shanghai's three key leading industries, the foundation model (or large AI model) industry has taken a significant leap forward, propelling the development of new quality productive forces.

In September 2023, the Shanghai Foundation Model Innovation Center, also known as SMC, was established in Xuhui district, Shanghai.

As one of China's first dedicated incubators and accelerators for large-scale AI models, SMC has attracted nearly 100 foundation model enterprises, bringing together more than 200 companies from across the industrial chain. This makes it the prime window to observe the development of Shanghai's foundation model industry.

Enabling innovative development

The Shanghai Foundation Model Innovation Center is a vibrant hub for AI industry innovation, constantly buzzing with energy and new ideas. Various industry forums, academic lectures, and technical salons are held frequently at the center, providing a platform for innovators, scholars, and tech enthusiasts in the AI industry to exchange ideas and experiences.

Wang Xiaobo, the founding partner and CEO of tech firm Frontis, explained that he chose to settle his business in Shanghai's SMC because of its professional and efficient services. With these services, Frontis was able to rapidly integrate and grow in Shanghai. Additionally, Shanghai's academic atmosphere and business environment align with the needs of many enterprises, making it fertile ground for innovation and growth.

Facilitating resource integration

Within a single building, enterprises from different segments of the foundation model industry chain are able to gather, making it perfect for collaboration between enterprises. The companies that have chosen to root themselves in SMC include foundational technology providers, application developers, scene designers, computing power supporters, and product marketers.

During the training and inference processes of foundation models, substantial computing resources are essential. SMC's industrial ecosystem includes a company that helps foundation model companies reduce computing costs. According to Xia Lixue, co-founder and CEO of Infinigence, the company integrates diverse and scattered computing resources into a unified and user-friendly infrastructure. This aids model developers and users in optimizing computing power for downstream scenarios.

Nurturing a supportive environment

According to Chen Haici, general manager of SMC, the center is not a traditional industrial park, but a cohesive community. It boasts bustling foot traffic, youthful vigor, and a range of commercial, residential, and leisure facilities, creating an environment that is both livable and business-friendly.

Since its inception, SMC has put two phases into operation, covering an area of 20,000 square meters. Looking ahead, it is set to continue expansion, with plans to create an industrial incubation space that totals 100,000 square meters.