China aims to become global AI leader by 2030

The Chinese government has laid out a three-step blueprint to make the country the number one artificial intelligence hub globally.

China's top administrative body has laid out a three-step approach to make artificial intelligence (AI) the key driving force of the country's economic growth for the next decade.

According to the plan initiated by the State Council and released last week, China will first keep pace with other leading countries in terms of AI technology and applications by 2020, aiming for a core AI industry worth 150 billion yuan ($22 billion) and AI-related fields worth 1 trillion yuan, according to a Tencent news report.

After the conclusion of the second phase by 2025 when legal grounds for the industry are established, the government plans to be the global leader in AI theory, technology, and applications and the major AI innovation centre globally by 2030. At which time, the core AI industry will value 1 trillion yuan and AI-related industries 10 trillion yuan, according to the blueprint.

The government has also pushed for vigorous development of AI-related emerging industries in China, including intelligent hardware and software, intelligent robots, and Internet of Things based devices.

Research on brain science, brain computing, quantum information and quantum computing, intelligent manufacturing, robotics, and big data will be greatly upheld, while intelligent upgrades in manufacture, agriculture, logistics, and home appliances will also be sped up.

A PwC report released last month has estimated the global GDP will become 14 percent higher in 2030 due to the wide deployment of AI.

"China will begin to pull ahead of the US's AI productivity gains in 10 years," the report said, and estimated that China will have the most economic gains from AI, which may boost China's GDP by 26 percent by 2030.

Chinese companies Alibaba, Baidu, and Lenovo are stepping up AI investment in a range of industries such as ecommerce, IoT, and autonomous driving.

Baidu announced the acquisition of Seattle-based startup Kitt.ai and a partnership with US chipmaker Nvidia this month, while Alibaba recently revealed an AI-powered smart speaker.

Lenovo also said AI will be a key feature of its products going forward, which include a digital assistant, connected health devices, and augmented and virtual reality platforms.

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