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article imageChina to build $2 billion AI research centre in Beijing

By James Walker     Jan 4, 2018 in Technology
China has announced plans to build a "national-level" AI centre in Beijing. The facility will be used to further the country's aims of becoming a leader in AI technology over the next decade. Foreign researchers will be amongst those working at the lab.
As reported by Reuters, the project was revealed in an article by China's official Xinhua news agency this week. The research centre will be located towards the west of Beijing, in the city's Mentougou district. The extensive complex will be large enough to house over 400 enterprises developing new AI-based technologies.
China expects the facility to be a substantial contributor to the local economy. When it's fully operational, annual output could be up to 50 billion yuan, around $7.7 billion. The cost of construction is expected to be 13.8 billion yuan ($2.12 billion). It will be developed by the Zhongguancun Development Group.
Partners for the project will be sourced from foreign universities. China will aim to attract the world's leading AI experts and startups to the new research park. Regional leaders intend to scale Beijing's local AI industry to over 400 billion yuan by 2025, forming part of a nationwide endeavour to become a leading power in AI development.
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Technologies to be researched at the facility include deep learning, distributed cloud computing and biometric authentication. The lab's also expected to have strong connections to autonomous vehicles and AI assistance. Beijing recently approved plans to create an autonomous driving ring around the outskirts of the city. Firms will be able to use the loop to test prototype self-driving cars under real driving conditions.
The new lab will help China to keep pace with its global rivals as the race to achieve AI dominance heats up. The technology is broadly seen to have extensive potential applications across society, making it an important development focus for leading world economies. The Beijing research centre will enable hundreds of new AI-focused enterprises to get established, helping China to compete with nations including the U.S., Canada and Russia.
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