It is becoming increasingly evident that China is not prepared to continue being second best in the world of technology. Their meteoric rise in many areas, including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and smartphones, is making the world of technology sit up and take notice.
Now the world sees how the ambitious plans of President Xi Jiping to overtake other technologically strong countries are nothing new. Indeed it has been a legacy handed down since the inception of the People’s Republic of China. Even though the trade war between the first and second-largest economies of the world persists, China is continuing unabated in a race that they are determined to win.
This is how China is becoming more dominant in AI and other technologies.
Bold pioneering in AI
Artificial intelligence covers a vast area of technology that includes software and machines that can undertake human-like tasks. The two biggest players in the field of AI are the US and China; both countries treat the progress that they are making seriously with set goals that they aim to attain.
China’s announcement last year that they intend to become the leaders in AI by 2030 show that they are well on their way of closing the gap. But one of my fellow Israeli technology analysts said “We’ve developed technology to serve the Chinese market, they’ve developed technology to serve our market in the West. In a level playing field, the consumers and business owners will tell us who is doing it the best.”
Who is winning the race?
It is difficult to say. So far the U.S. seems to be the leader in the field of research and development. On the other hand, China has introduced a number of AI technologies for different uses including facial recognition, speed recognition, self-driving transportation, smart cities and medical diagnosis. The Chinese government also supports AI startups and enterprises by investing in them financially.
At this rate, their ultimate goal to be the global leader in the field of AI by 2030 seems very attainable, even though the U.S. seems to be the all-rounder at this point in time.
How is China fusing AI with fintech?
Fintech is a booming industry and $55.3 billion was invested in it globally in 2018. Some of the biggest fintech firms are in China, and it is believed to have invested approximately 46% of that figure into the industry. The Alipay mobile payments app is run by the Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial. Mobile payments can be made countrywide at any store with a scanned code from a smartphone. Another big player is WeChatPay, owned by Tencent.
These applications are known as “superapps” and not only do they offer the people of China one of the most advanced payment methods in the world, they also provide services like microloans and asset management.
The fast-paced fintech technology has rendered cash and credit cards to extinction and is the one area in technology that China seems to have won. The Chinese Central bank recently introduced a development plan that aims to place it in the lead within three years.
Other areas where China is making headway
Smartphones, blockchain, 5G and social media are all areas where previous perceptions about China are being reconsidered. Meanwhile, some of these are contentious.
How far is China’s smartphone development?
Huawei is the second top-selling vendor of smartphones in the world with another two Chinese companies coming in among the top five. Even though they have often been accused of copying Apple, some of the smartphone manufacturers in China are coming up with exciting new ideas.
The decentralized ledger of transactions initially used for bitcoin has evolved and can be utilized in every industry. The Chinese government is determined to lead in blockchain technology and to utilize it in every industry including education, finance, and health care.
Why is 5G technology important?
Artificial intelligence is changing the pace of everything and 5G is what will allow it to function better with faster data speeds. These are especially important for the accuracy needed by AI and this especially includes driverless cars. China unveiled its 5G technology faster than the expected 2020 deadline and has outpaced the U.S.
Huawei is building more than half of China’s 5G networks and it has also pursued contracts around the world. However, the U.S. perceives the company as a national security risk and has played an active role in trying to persuade other countries from supporting them. Huawei denies that its hardware can be used to spy for the Chinese government.
It appears that China has overtaken the U.S. in the race for implementing a 5G network and according to the GSM Association, the trade body for over 800 mobile operators globally; China will have the largest number of 5G connections than Europe and North America combined by 2025.
WeChat – the app that does everything
The success that Tencent has had with WeChat has not gone unnoticed and the social media company has grown in value and is placed among the top ten companies in the world. Through the app, its users can book doctor’s appointments, pay their bills and traffic fines, illustrating how Chinese firms are cleverly using technology to their advantage.
Who will lead the AI market?
Naturally some countries support an innovative ecosystem, whereas others invest in hiring top talent as a way to import technology know-how. Ethical players who seek to lead the market should do three things: innovate, innovate…. and…. innovate!
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