China economy

The big data and AI projects China is pinning its global tech ambitions on

The country’s top planning agency is backing 56 projects to help turn the nation into a tech powerhouse

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 7:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 7:00am

A top Chinese drone manufacturer and a police-backed facial ­recognition firm are among dozens of companies set to ­receive state subsidies as China seeks to become a global powerhouse in internet technology, big data and artificial intelligence.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planning agency, said on ­Wednesday that 56 projects were in the first batch to receive the support in a key national scheme.

They include “e-governance” systems developed by provincial authorities as well as drones and robots manufactured by private companies.

The NDRC launched the ­national programme to promote what it described as “internet plus, artificial intelligence and the digital economy” with a call for submissions in October.

The 56 projects are the first to qualify for the state support and will gain subsidies if there is no objection in the next week.

The subsidies will also depend on each project’s needs and size.

Some of the country’s biggest companies are in the running for the funding, including ­e-commerce giant, which is developing an open-source deep-learning platform, and ­telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, which ­proposed a financial data ­application platform.

The NDRC said the artificial intelligence projects chosen ­focused on mass production of smart chips, facial and voice ­recognition systems, drones, and advanced intelligent service ­robots.

Among the recipients are ­robot projects at Shenzhen ­UBTECH Robotics and Shandong-based Synthesis Electronic Technology.

Four developers of facial and voice recognition systems also got the nod, including Beijing ­Zhongdun Security Technology Development, a company funded by the Ministry of Public Security; and CloudWalk Technology in Guangzhou.

NDRC said some of the big data projects included a China-Russia big data office in Harbin, a digital trade platform between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and an e-commerce platform between China and the Middle East.