China’s elite Peking University to build a new AI-focused campus as competition with US heats up–SCMP

What happened: Following in the footsteps of 34 other universities, including fellow elite school Tsinghua, Peking University announced it will build a new institute focused on AI. Located in Changping District, the campus will comprise a sizable addition to Peking U’s existing space, spanning an additional 683,500 square meters. Artificial intelligence, as well as other engineering-related majors, will be offered at the site. In addition, according to the university’s Party Secretary, the initiative “will serve as an important platform to integrate emerging industries and attract top talent overseas.”

Why it’s important: In the battle for AI dominance, China appears to lag behind the US in terms of academic research. A Tsinghua study published earlier this year, for instance, concluded that China’s talent pool is only one-fifth the size of the US’. However, Chinese companies accounted for 60% of global investment from 2013 through the first quarter of this year, reflecting the priority AI holds in the country’s plans to upgrade its technology. As efforts to promote AI continue, expect more time spent on fostering young talent in China.

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.

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