Briefing: Chinese AI companies raised $31.7 billion in the first half of 2018

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2018上半年中国人工智能领域融资317亿美元 – ChinaNews

What happened: Chinese artificial intelligence companies raised a combined $31.7 billion in the first six months of this year, representing almost three-quarters of the worldwide total of $43.5 billion, Zhang Xueli, deputy director of China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, said at a conference in the eastern city of Suzhou. The Chinese mainland had 1,122 AI companies as of September, accounting for the second-largest share of the world’s 5,159, she said.

Why it’s important: China’s AI sector had seen explosive growth in recent years with the rise of a string of AI unicorns like SenseTime, Megvii and Yitu. Along with the trend, venture capital in China’s AI industry has ballooned. However, the country is still playing catch up with international AI powerhouses, Zhang pointed out. “The country has more application-oriented companies, but fewer that focus on research and development—especially in the field of AI chips,” she said. The investment falls in line with China’s plan to become a world leader in AI by 2030.