Source: China Daily
Artificial intelligence is a booming industry that offers good job prospects and salaries, but positions aren't being snapped up —there just isn't enough talent in China to fill these positions
Artificial intelligence is without doubt a big business in China.
Just look at SenseTime, a Beijing-headquartered enterprise startup that was earlier this year named the world's most valuable AI startup. Founded just four years ago, SenseTime currently has a valuation of more than $4 billion, earning itself the reputation as China's largest unicorn, which is defined as a startup that is worth $1 billion or more.
According to global consulting firm Ernest & Young, the output of China's AI industry surged by 50 percent from 2016 to reach 15 billion yuan ($2.34 billion) last year. And the industry is showing no signs of slowing down.
Market consultancy IDC expects more than 80 percent of e-commerce companies in China to develop user experience systems based on AI technology by 2019. The firm also predicts that over 90 percent of internet products and services provided in the Chinese market will be integrated with the technology by 2020.
AI is already steadily being implemented in the market. For example, facial recognition AI systems have been used across the country to identify criminals. In fact, Chinese police managed to leverage this technology to arrest an escaped criminal when he attended Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung's recent concert held in East China's Zhejiang province. Some public hospitals in China have also used AI to simulate the process of drug screening and assist in certain medical scenarios.
A survey conducted by global human resources service provider Aon Hewitt found that about 16 percent of the 300-plus companies polled applied AI to at least one project in 2017. Another 8 percent of the companies used AI in part of their production process. About 38 percent of the surveyed companies said they would introduce AI soon.
Chinese Premier Li Ke-qiang said in the Government Work Report in March last year that the development of emerging industries such as AI should be accelerated in China, marking the first time AI was ever mentioned in the report. According to a guideline released by China's State Council in July, the value of the Chinese AI industry would exceed 1 trillion yuan by 2030.
Further evidence of AI's growing importance is highlighted by the formation of the Artificial Intelligence Industry Alliance in October by industry giants like Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. The National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will supervise the alliance and provide policy guidance.
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