Chinese city sets up $15.7B fund to boost AI development

Tianjin has established a 100 billion yuan (US$15.7 billion) to drive the development of artificial intelligence tools and boost China's bid to become a global leader in the field.

A Chinese city northeast of Beijing has set up a 100 billion yuan (US$15.7 billion) fund to drive the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and boost China's bid to become a global leader in the field.

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Tianjin unveiled plans to establish the multi-billion dollar fund to accelerate the city government's ambition of building a smart technology industry, which would include a 10 billion yuan (US$1.57 billion) fund to boost smart manufacturing and provide incentives to attract the right talent.

Citing a document posted on the city's official site, a South China Morning Post report said Tianjin would raise the money from financial businesses in the country and overseas and private organisations.

State-owned media agency Xinhua also reported that Tianjin would use the funds to support various market segments including intelligent robots and hardware. In addition, the Chinese city would park 30 billion yuan (US$4.71 billion) for the development of intelligence devices and to drive the adoption of smart technologies amongst traditional industries.

The move comes amidst the Chinese government's bid to lead the global AI industry by 2030 and "pull ahead of the United States' AI productivity gains". It had said AI would boost China's GDP by 26 percent by 2030, which was when it estimated the AI industry would be valued at more than 1 trillion yuan (US$156.99 billion).

The country's capital Beijing also said in January that it would set aside 13.8 billion yuan (US$2.17 billion) to build an AI development park, which would accommodate up to 400 businesses.

Tianjin's US$15.7 billion fund far surpassed the European Commission's own announcement last month to increase its AI investment by 70 percent to 1.6 billion euros (US$1.77 billion) by 2020.