Briefing: China is home to more than 50% of the world’s AI unicorns

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More than half of world’s AI unicorns are in China, says report – SCMP

What happened: China is home to the greatest number of artificial intelligence (AI) unicorns in the world, according to a report by research company CB Insights. Facial recognition startup Sensetime, valued at $4.5 billion, tops the list. Other companies include Yitu Technology, 4Paradigm, Face++, and self-driving firm Pony.ai.

Why it’s important: Artificial intelligence has been dubbed the fourth industrial revolution, and China has set ambitious goals for its development. The country hopes to catch up with the US’ AI capabilities by 2020, make breakthroughs by 2025, and become a world leader by 2030. The Chinese government has selected five companies to lead the country’s AI charge. These include search giant Baidu, e-commerce company Alibaba, social media and gaming giant Tencent, voice recognition firm iFlytek, and Sensetime. Nonetheless, despite not having reached unicorn status, the vast majority of AI startups are situated in the US, with just 23 of the top 100 located in other countries around the world, according to CB Insights.