Shanghai can tap into the newly-launched bourse for science and technology at the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the further integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region and the development of the Lingang New Area to further boost its artificial intelligence industry, said political advisors during the city's ongoing annual legislative and political consultative sessions.
Xu Jianmin, director of the Economic Commission in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee - the city's political advisory body – also said that the national strategy for the integration of the Yangtze River Delta is set to create application scenarios for innovative AI projects and see more sharing of public data within the region.
He also pointed out that Shanghai will be deepening the implementation of its "Light of the Huangpu River" action, which includes a series of preferential policies to help tech and innovative companies get listed on the Sci-Tech Innovation Board.
According to Xu, Shanghai is home to 1,116 enterprises related to AI, placing it second in the country and fourth in the world in terms of the number of companies. He added that there are presently 183 AI companies in Shanghai with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) and whose combined output value reached 133.98 billion yuan in 2018.
"The local government also can design pilot policies in the Lingang New Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone to attract AI companies to set up their headquarters in the city," he said.
Chen Chong, a political advisor with the Zhigong Party, said legal and ethical issues related to AI will be considered when developing the new industry.
"The municipal People's Congress should accelerate research of legislation on AI, which will regulate the development of AI and reduce the potential risks in areas such as data privacy," she said, adding that the government needs to draft industry standards for AI development as well.
According to the Global AI industry Whitepaper that was published by consultancy company Deloitte in September 2019, China's AI industry has developed rapidly due to strong funding and policy support, with some key technologies even considered to be pioneering in the world.
The report also said Chinese AI enterprises registered high growth rates in the fields of education, business intelligence and facial recognition. The notable companies in these areas, Squirrel AI, Bytedance and CloudWalk, grew at a rate of over 5,000 percent, 700 percent and 600 percent, respectively.
The report estimated the global AI market is likely to see phenomenal growth and achieve a market value of over $6 trillion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent from 2017 to 2025.
First-tier cities such as Shanghai and Beijing have long led in terms of the number of talents and enterprises, capital environment and R&D strengths, it added.
As artificial intelligence is evolving from a fancy concept into an integral part of people's daily lives, industry experts called for more efforts to promote responsible AI practices through better measures in protecting privacy and data security.
Xiang Yang, an AI expert at the China Center for Information Industry Development, said AI is being used in more scenarios so consumers are giving serious attention to how their biometric information, especially facial information, is used.
"Compared with ID card and fingerprint information, facial recognition can help identify a person more accurately," Xiang said. "If such information is collected improperly or leaked, the risks will be considerable."
The comments came after a rash of AI-related controversies that have occurred in China and the rest of the world. In October, the first lawsuit against the use of facial recognition technology in China was filed by a professor who sued a wildlife park in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
Guo Bing, an associate professor at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, sued the Chinese wildlife park for making it mandatory for visitors to subject themselves to its facial recognition devices to collect biometric data. The park had upgraded its system to use facial recognition for admission. Currently, the lawsuit is going through the courts.
The case occurred just one month after a face-swapping app went viral in China and triggered heated online debates about its possible violation of user privacy.
China's top industry regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, later summoned social networking firm Momo Inc. The company powers ZAO, which lets users superimpose their faces onto those of celebrities and produce synthesized videos and emojis.
The ministry asked the company to collect user information by abiding by relevant rules and regulations, revisit the respective user agreements and protocols, and strengthen the protection of internet data and individual user information.
The pictures uploaded to ZAO are categorized as "personal sensitive information" that should not be leaked, illegally provided or abused. Some clauses in the app represent a violation of a national standard on personal information and impeachment of user privacy, said Wang Zheng, a lawyer at Zhejiang Taihang Law Firm.
In November, China's social media went into overdrive again after videos emerged showing some students in a primary school wearing AI headbands designed to track their attention levels. Many netizens expressed concerns the product would violate the privacy of students. Others doubted whether the bands would really improve learning efficiency.
"AI has the potential to enhance learning and students' academic performance, but a prudent approach would be desirable. It is the responsibility of schools to enhance teaching quality. Students' privacy should not be sacrificed or compromised," said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the telecom industry association Information Consumption Alliance.
On top of data leak risks, some profound problems emerged that posed questions about how human beings can co-exist with AI peacefully in the future. In one terrifying incident, an unregulated smartspeaker advised its user to commit suicide "for the greater good".
A UK student from Doncaster, Yorkshire, named Danni Morritt, said she was terrified when she asked the smart speaker to tell her about the cardiac cycle as part of her revision to become a paramedic.
The smart device advised her to stab herself in the heart for the greater good and to protect the Earth.
Li Deyi, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said there was no need to exaggerate one AI incident as a serious threat to mankind. Many tech companies are also using AI to prevent suicide.
AI as a technology is not a problem, but its adoption must be regulated before a special law is introduced, Li added.
As AI gets increasingly smarter, some discussions have also emerged about whether the technology deserves some legal rights.
In January, the European Union's Patent Office rejected applications submitted on behalf of AI programs, sparking debates on whether AI can hold a new patent.
Some believe that AI should be regarded as an inventor that can hold its own patents to promote progress in societies. But others said AI is just a tool and it should not be granted the same rights as human beings.
"The increasing penetration of AI into more areas will pose more challenges to existing laws and regulations, which will require more efforts to pre-think about how to deal with such legal and ethical issues," Li added.
Worldwide shipments of used smartphones, inclusive of both officially refurbished and used smartphones, to reach a total of 206.7 million units in 2019, which represents an increase of 17.6 percent over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
The new IDC forecast projects used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate of 13.6 percent from 2018 to 2023.
Although the global new smartphone market remains in decline, used smartphone shipments are witnessing a rapid growth, as well as a considerable market prospect.
"In contrast to the recent drop in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe," said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
This growth can be attributed to an uptick in demand for used smartphones that offer considerable savings compared with new models, IDC noted.
Refurbished and used devices continue to provide cost-effective alternatives to both consumers and businesses that are looking to save money when purchasing a smartphone.
Moreover, OEMs have struggled to produce new models that strike a balance between desirable new features and a price that is seen as reasonable.
Looking ahead, IDC expects the deployment of 5G networks and smartphones will impact the used market as smartphone owners begin to trade in their 4G smartphones for the promise of high-performing 5G devices.
Although drivers such as regulatory compliance and environmental initiatives are still positively impacting the growth in the used market, the importance of cost-saving for new devices will continue to drive growth, IDC said.
"Trade-in combined with the increase in financing plans (EIP) will ultimately be the two main drivers of the refurbished phone market moving forward," said Will Stofega, program director, Mobile Phones.
Chinese companies will play a leading role in 5G technology in the long run despite restriction and fierce competition, Sina Finance reported on Saturday.
Huawei has withstood the first wave of attacks and will finally tackle the challenges caused by the technological ban imposed by the United States, the greatest uncertainty in telecommunications market in 2019, according to an insider.
Finnish telecommunications company Nokia announced 63 commercial 5G deals worldwide on its official website on Jan 9, indicating that these deals exclude other type of 5G agreements, such as paid network trials, pilots or demonstrations.
Chinese tech giant Huawei has signed over 60 5G commercial deals with global leading operators and sent 400,000 5G Massive MIMO AAU worldwide by the middle of October last year. Huawei has been providing support to launch 35 5G commercial network by December.
Another Chinese telecommunication company ZTE has signed about 35 5G commercial deals, according to statistics released in November.
Swedish company Ericsson has signed 78 5G commercial agreements and deals globally and provided equipment for 24 officially operational 5G commercial networks by December.
Chinese companies' discourse power has been further increased and has entered key-standards setting arena, although fierce competition for 5G deals will continue, the report said indicating that the competition of 5G equipment providers will turn white-hot in 2020.
Nokia boasts to be the only 5G network (equipment) provider chosen by the United States' all four major operators, Korea's all three leading operators and Japan's all big three operators nationwide and obtained more than 2,000 essential patents for 5G.
After selling mobile phone business, Nokia has been focused on 5G business and the company has taken a leading role in software development, IoT deployment and wireless connection, said Bhaskar Gorti, president of Nokia Software, as reported by the 21st Century Business Herald.
In 5G market, Ericsson last year cooperated with many global operators including Qatar telecom operator Ooredoo, Saudi telecommunications company STC and Russian operator Tele2. In Chinese market, Ericsson has closely worked with domestic operators and terminal manufactures and explored landing scenarios by opening a smart factory last November.
Compared with the two European companies, Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE have more complete industrial chain in 5G technology with a wider coverage, including chips, terminals, systems, and specialized end-to-end 5G solutions.
In addition to 5G base stations, Huawei and ZTE have also launched many terminal products, including multiple 5G mobile phones and 5G CPE.
Statistics from Huawei show the shipment volume of Huawei's 5G base station modules increased 300 percent from May to October last year, up from 100,000 to 400, 000. In September, Huawei also took the lead to deliver an end-to-end 5G Standalone independent networking model.
Despite being blocked by the United States, Huawei said at the end of September that it had started producing 5G base stations without US components. The company is two-three years ahead in some core components of base stations, a Huawei insider told the 21st Century Business Herald reporter.
Huawei is currently in cooperation with many countries including Switzerland, United Kingdom, Monaco, France, Malaysia and Russia.
ZTE's market in 5G is also recovering and the company is in cooperation with operators including Telefónica, Orange, WindTre, and Austrian Hutchison Drei.
It is projected that China's base stations will have hundreds of thousands of demand, and the global demand will reach millions in 2020, the report said.
Guangdong province in South China is sparing no effort in promoting its digital economy by accelerating construction of 5G networks and boosting the commercialization of 5G service in the months ahead.
According to the Report on the Implementation of Economic and Social Development Plan in 2019 and the Draft Plan in 2020 of Guangdong Province, Guangdong plans to build more than 48,000 new 5G base stations this year. It will cover the major urban areas in the Pearl River Delta that has become one of the country's most open areas to the outside world.
The report was submitted to Guangdong Provincial People's Congress for review by Ge Changwei, director general of Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission, in the annual Guangdong provincial legislative session that opened on Tuesday.
"The report aims to speed up construction of 'smart cities' to serve and promote the economic construction in Guangdong province, window of the country's reform and opening up," Ge said.
To this end, construction of 5G base stations will be included in the development plans of all the cities in the province before the end of June, the report said.
All the Guangdong cities are required to map out detailed plans for their 5G base station construction, including the selection of construction sites, construction of computer rooms, pipelines, power supply and related supportive facilities, the report said.
The province has taken the lead in the country's 5G network construction and application, with more than 30,000 base stations having been set up by the end of last year, representing 23.8 percent of the country's total.
Most of Guangdong's 5G base stations have been constructed in Guangzhou, capital of the province, the Shenzhen special economic zone, and the cities of Foshan, Dongguan and Zhuhai.
China has built about 126,000 base stations nationwide by the end of 2019.
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