On March 9, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology announced the establishment of four new “New Generation AI Innovation and Development Pilot Zones” in various cities across China. This ministry created the first seven such zones in 2019, and plans to build approximately 20 by 2023. This product is a summary of the key points of the recent announcement and of the pilot zone project.
Source: PRC Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST; 科技部) website and PRC Central People’s Government (中华人 民共和国中央人民政府) website, various dates. The announcements of the four new AI pilot zones appeared on the MOST website on March 9, 2020.
See the footnotes for links to the various Chinese-language documents referred to in this summary.
Translator: Ben Murphy, CSET Translation Lead
China Creates National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Development Pilot Zones
On March 9, 2020, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) publicly announced the establishment of four new “National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Development Pilot Zones” (国家新一代人工智能创新发展试验区; henceforth “AI pilot zones”). In four separate announcements–each dated January 23 but not uploaded to its website until March 9–MOST affirmed that it approved the creation of the four new AI pilot zones, located in the cities of Chengdu, Chongqing, Jinan, and Xi’an.
This brings the total number of national AI pilot zones in China to 11. The cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Hefei, Shenzhen, and Tianjin, and Deqing County (德清县)–in Zhejiang Province near Hangzhou–established AI pilot zones in 2019. MOST plans to establish approximately 20 AI pilot zones by 2023, per a notice it issued in August 2019. 1
The purpose of the AI pilot zones, according to the MOST notice, is to encourage the expansion of China’s AI industry in cities where it has already taken firm root. The Chinese government, at both the central and local levels, confers benefits on AI pilot zones, such as financial support and favorable local regulations. In exchange, the AI pilot zones are expected to focus on applications of AI that bring practical economic, social, environmental, or other benefits to the local area. Separate MOST announcements regarding the establishment of each pilot zone identify each city’s particular advantages or specializations as regards AI and encourage the pilot zone to build on those strengths.
The following table lists all 11 AI pilot zones in existence as of March 11, 2020, and includes the date each one was established, the date its establishment was publicized, and its perceived strengths as an AI industry hub. Each footnote is a link to the Chinese text of the MOST notice announcing the creation of that particular AI pilot zone.
Chinese AI Pilot Zones
|Location||Date Created||Date Announced||AI-Relevant Strengths / Specializations|
|Beijing2||February 20, 2019||February 25, 2019||Many leading research institutes, high concentration of experts|
|Shanghai3||May 22, 2019||June 11, 2019||Science education resources (科教资源), application scene (应用场景), massive data (海量数据), openness (开放)|
|Hangzhou4||October 17, 2019||October 18, 2019||Academic research, application scene, industrial base|
|Hefei5||October 17, 2019||October 18, 2019||Intelligent speech (智能语音), robotics, high concentration of experts|
|Shenzhen6||October 17, 2019||October 18, 2019||Strong R&D capacity, high concentration of high-end talent, complete production chain (产业链完整)|
|Tianjin7||October 17, 2019||October 18, 2019||Computing capacity (算力), data resources|
|Deqing County8||November 2, 2019||November 5, 2019||Autonomous driving, smart agriculture, county-level intelligent governance (县域智能治理)|
|Chengdu9||January 23, 2020||March 9, 2020||Diverse application scene, rich science education resources|
|Chongqing10||January 23, 2020||March 9, 2020||Solid industrial base, rich application scene, robust infrastructure, smart manufacturing, smart city, AI software, robotics|
|Jinan11||January 23, 2020||March 9, 2020||Rich application scene, computing infrastructure (算力基础), robust data resources; applications of AI in manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation|
|Xi’an12||January 23, 2020||March 9, 2020||R&D infrastructure and talent in intelligent sensing and processing (智能感知处理) and intelligent interaction (智能交互)|
- A CSET translation of this notice is forthcoming. For the Chinese text of the notice, see: http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2019-09/06/content_5427767.htm