Google opens Chinese AI centre

Gwen Vasquez
December 15, 2017

The research facility, which joins similar research centers in London, New York, Toronto and Zurich, will be run by a small team from its existing office in Beijing. This is why, seven years ago, Google drastically slashed its business interests in China, even threatening to leave the country entirely: Chinese censorship and government control simply went against the values of Google as an entity, and Google wouldn't play ball.

Google is opening an artificial intelligence center in China, a market where its internet search engine, email and YouTube video website have been blocked.

Likewise, it seems that China, which is desperate to make the most of advances in AI, can not ignore Google's efforts in the field (see "China's AI Awakening").

Google's parent company Alphabet announced the plan in a blog post Wednesday. "Besides publishing its own work, the Google AI China Centre will also support the AI research community by funding and sponsoring AI conferences and workshops, and working closely with the vibrant Chinese AI research community". "Whether a breakthrough occurs in Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, it has the potential to make everyone's life better for the entire world", says the statement by Li.

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In the world of smartphones, we're becoming more and more used to Chinese technology companies competing with popular global brands, but we also know that the pendulum doesn't necessarily swing both ways.

China will be Google's first hub in Asia for AI development, the company said in a blog post December 13, 2017. And we want to work with the best AI talent, where that talent is, to achieve it.

Google's new lab will face fierce competition attracting researchers, though, especially as local giants like Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba pour more and more money into the sector.

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