China and Artificial Intelligence in 2017

POSTED BY   Sarah Etling
4th January 2017
China and Artificial Intelligence in 2017 | TDMB Tech

When you think of artificial intelligence, or of any type of tech, you probably think of what’s going on in Silicon Valley. But what’s going on in the East?

Data on Offer

Machine learning algorithms are becoming more commoditised. Also, access to huge volumes of training data is starting to become a main competitive advantage. For example, the Face++ / Meitu partnership, which allowed Face++ to access Meitu’s 850M user-strong dataset.

Other AI firms in China are looking at operating in an array of industries from finance to telecommunications. What’s particularly interesting here is that the Chinese have different views on privacy issues compared with the Western World. This has been a huge advantage for Chinese firms who have been selling phone conversations in different regional accents in order to train speech recognition software.

China’s Got Talent

A key reason why China is doing so well with AI is that, quite simply, they have the talent.

The Asian country is known for producing a lot of mathematical whizzkids, as a result, domestically, they have a lot of data scientists. For example, Chinese web giant Baidu has put together a team of scientists focusing on speech recognition. The project at Baidu has made some significant results and has seen growth of API call frequency and the accuracy of speech recognition (see KPCB’s data below – taken from Asia Times).


Continuing with Chinese web giant Baidu, the company has delved deep into using artificial intelligence by using what it already knows – its products and services.

With a wealth of applications that have voice recognition and search options, the company is sitting on a gold mine of data. Voice recognition, in particular, has a monumental data set, due to the fact that Mandarin uses thousands of characters, which makes the searcher’s intent on a smartphone less useful.

Therefore, the majority of Chinese consumers prefer to use voice recognition for online searches. Baidu has claimed a 97% success rate with using voice recognition. Its trained Deep Speech 2 algorithm can, in some cases, recognise English and Mandarin better than actual people! Baidu Translate can translate 28 languages and, on average, receives over 100 million requests a day.

Language learning is tipped to be one big area for artificial intelligence in 2017, and already Baidu seems to be leading the race.

Other Big Players

Other big companies are now playing catch-up. Tencent, which owns mobile messaging app WeChat, opened an AI lab last year. In addition, Didi, the ride-sharing company that bought Uber’s Chinese operations earlier this year, is reported to have created a lab, and is currently working on developing driverless cars.

These are just a few examples of how China will be a major player in artificial intelligence in 2017, as the Red Dragon takes its own stance on the concept and moves away from using similar techniques that have been adopted by the West.

Expect BIG things from China and The Year of the Rooster!

Artificial Intelligence in 2017 – What Are Your Thoughts?

What are your thoughts and predictions on artificial intelligence in 2017? As usual, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to message us via our Facebook and Google Plus pages. Alternatively, you can tweet us and David directly.

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China and Artificial Intelligence in 2017

Sarah Etling

Sarah Elting is Head of Marketing at TDMB. Following a degree in Marketing, she headed to Italy to start up a property consultancy. On her return to colder climates, she embarked on a marketing and creative journey that over the course of 12 years evolved from launching paint collections to heading up the marketing of a successful PropTech start-up and becoming CIM qualified. Sarah now writes about all aspects of strategic marketing and technology and continues to be interested in Property.

Get in Touch With Sarah Etling

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