China Research

Editor’s Picks: Tencent’s 2017 Internet Whitepaper

Last month, Chinese internet giant Tencent released its Internet Technology Innovation Whitepaper.

Last month, Chinese internet giant Tencent released its Internet Technology Innovation Whitepaper, which opened with a letter to company partners from CEO Huateng Ma stating, “In the past year our society underwent a comprehensive digitalization process. […] Companies, public service departments, education departments, scientific research institutions, non-profit organization, and cultural enterprises from all walks of life are eager to hop on the express train of digital transformation.”

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In Ma’s view digitalization is removing barriers between industries and regions. Public and private sectors can now partner to form a new kind of ‘digital ecology’. As the cloud, big data, and AI create a new infrastructure that powers new types of social governance, seven trends have emerged:


Report Highlights

➤ In the past 40 years, society has witnessed the development of IT, the internet and mobile internet, and AI. Tencent believes we are experiencing unprecedented simultaneous cross-sector technological development.

➤ Government policy encourages AI research, commercialization, and implementation. Since 2012, the Chinese government has released over 50 white papers detailing AI development strategies. In Notification of a New Generation of Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, China made clear its goal to achieve international leadership in AI technology by 2030.

➤ Domestic AI development budded when China’s first robotics company Weilai (Future) Robotics was founded in Shanghai in 1996. Five years later the first iBot robot startup obtained US$20.4 million in funding from IDG capital, marking the first AI investment milestone.

➤ By mid-2017, China had 592 AI companies, which is 23% of the global total, making it the second largest AI industry cluster in the world. Domestic VC invested a total of US$63.5 billion into 767 startups, which is 33% of total global investment.

➤ Domestic AI companies are primarily located in Beijing (42%), Guangdong (20%), Shanghai (14%), Zhejiang (14%), and Jiangsu (5%). Major AI application areas are computer vision (146 companies), intelligent robots (125 companies), and natural language processing (92 companies).

➤ China’s 592 AI companies employ over 40,000 employees, but the country still lacks the talents required for building a robust hardware infrastructure.

➤ According to Wuzhen index: Global Artificial Intelligence Development Report, China currently holds 15,745 AI patents, while the US holds 26,891 patents and Japan 14,604. These three countries hold 74% of all patents in the field of artificial intelligence.

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1 comment on “Editor’s Picks: Tencent’s 2017 Internet Whitepaper

  1. Pingback: Synced | Unveiling China’s Mysterious AI Lead: Synced Machine Intelligence Award 2017

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