Chinese tech media outlet Huxiu earlier this week released a series of images as a year-end review, casting light on Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei’s dominance over the artificial intelligence business landscape in China.
Citing consulting firms and investment companies including Deloitte and state-backed Everbright Securities, Huxiu classified nearly 200 players into three horizontal layers—infrastructure, technology, and application. It also traced the AI firms’ links to Alibaba in yellow, Baidu in blue, Huawei in red, and Tencent in green.
The graphic shows the tech giants are battling one another through the smaller firms in fields including autonomous driving, online retail, education, and 11 other sectors.
It shows that nearly 65% of all the Chinese AI firms have allied with or been invested in by the four tech giants. Baidu surpassed the others with a total of 48 affiliates. The company was followed by Tencent with 37, Alibaba with 31, and Huawei with eight. The graphic shows that despite its few affiliates, Huawei has established a solid foundation in all three layers.
In the application layer, Alibaba has invested in more than 18 firms, most of which are from the retail, financial and entertainment sectors. Tencent, however, has made alliances with a number of car manufacturers including Geely, BYD and Guangzhou Automobile Group.
Baidu and Huawei have dug deeper into the technology layer by developing open-source platforms and providing smart solutions to industry clients. Alibaba and Tencent are increasing their capabilities in computer vision and machine translation.
In the infrastructure layer, Alibaba has invested four local chipmakers including Cambricon and Deephi, and set up a chipmaking subsidiary Pingtouge, while Tencent is involved with three data analysis companies. Baidu and Huawei have focused on building in-house infrastructure technologies.
Having seen its significant economic, social, and civic implications, the Chinese government announced an ambitious AI policy plan in July 2017, calling for establishing an industry worth RMB 1 trillion (roughly $150 billion) by 2030.
Chinese tech titans have heeded the calls, investing heavily in AI and other leading technologies as the country attempts to establish its supremacy in emerging fields.