Although the game between AlphaGo AI and legendary chess master Lee Sedol ended over a month ago, the event’s influence is opening doors for companies seeking to explain the significance of AI technology.

Fu Sheng, CEO Cheetah Mobile who predicted Lee would win the game, is one of them. At the company’s global media conference held Tuesday, Fu announced that Cheetah Mobile, the Beijing-based startup best known for its utility apps, is going to open a robotics division with a $50 million USD investment designated for artificial intelligence development. Fu says he is going to lead the team himself.

“AI technology is maturing and there’s no doubt that human labor is going to be replaced by robots”, he said, adding that deep learning and AI will offer a chance to bypass competitors and disrupt the industry landscape.

Technology advantages that many companies have formed over the years can be easily shattered over a short period of time, he noted ominously.

As one of the top Chinese internet startups, Cheetah Mobile is recording overseas success, claiming over 2.34 billion downloads and 635 million monthly active users, of which 78% come from overseas markets, according to the company.

Chinese internet giants are flocking to the rising robotics sector in recent years. Alibaba threw $118 million USD into SoftBank’s robotics program Pepper. Sogou, one of China’s leading search engine, donated 180 million RMB this month to set up an AI school in cooperation with Tsinghua University.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.

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