This notice, issued by the PRC Ministry of Science and Technology in August 2019, describes a process by which Chinese cities can apply to establish “national new generation AI innovation and development pilot zones.” These zones will be located in cities that already possess robust AI infrastructure such as top universities, national labs, and leading tech companies. The notice states that China will create roughly 20 AI pilot zones by 2023; as of March 2020, China had already established 11 such zones.
The Chinese source text is available online at:
All footnotes are additions by the translator; they do not appear in the Chinese source text. US $1 ≈ 7 Chinese Yuan Renminbi (RMB), as of March 24, 2020.
Translator: Etcetera Language Group, Inc.
Editor: Ben Murphy, CSET Translation Lead
To science and technology departments (committees and bureaus) in provinces, autonomous regions, and centrally administered municipalities, and to the planning units of the cities under them, and to the Science and Technology Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps:
In order to fully implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions on artificial intelligence (AI), accelerate the implementation of the deployment requirements of the State Council Notice on the Issuance of the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan1 (State Council Document  No. 35), construct national new generation artificial intelligence innovation and development pilot zones in an orderly manner, give full play to the role of local stakeholders (地方主体), test institutional mechanisms, policies, and regulations, forge a new path to promote the in-depth integration of AI and economic and social development, explore new approaches to governance in the intelligent era, and promote the healthy development of new generation AI, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has formulated the Guidelines for National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Development Pilot Zone Construction Work. These guidelines are hereby issued. Please implement the relevant work in accordance with local conditions.
August 29, 2019
(This document to be actively publicized)
Guidelines for National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Development Pilot Zone Construction Work
These guidelines are formulated to fully implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions on AI, accelerate the implementation of the deployment requirements of the State Council Notice on the Issuance of the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (State Council Document  No. 35), further clarify the overall requirements, key tasks, application conditions, construction procedures, and safeguard measures of the national new generation AI innovation and development pilot zones, and to orderly promote the construction of national new generation AI innovation and development pilot zones, and promote the construction of such pilot zones in an orderly manner.
I. Overall Requirements
(1) Construction Philosophy (建设思路)
National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Development Pilot Zones (hereinafter referred to as Pilot Zones) are areas where artificial intelligence (AI) technology demonstrations, policy tests, and social experiments are carried out to promote the development of AI innovation through new attempts and by playing a leading role. The construction of Pilot Zones is based on promoting the in-depth integration of AI and economic and social development. In this process, we will develop innovative institutional mechanisms, deepen the cooperation of industry, academia, research institutions, and users, integrate superior resources, build a sound ecosystem conducive to the development of AI, comprehensively improve AI innovation and capabilities, create a number of new generation AI innovation development models, accumulate experience that can be replicated and scaled, and lead the healthy development of AI nationwide.
(2) Construction Principles
Application-driven: Adapt to the characteristics and trends of AI development, deepen the integration of the innovation chain and production chain (产业链), vigorously promote the application of AI in the economic and social fields, and promote the iterative upgrade of AI technologies and systems through large-scale applications.
Local stakeholders: Give full play to the mainstay role of local institutions in the construction of Pilot Zones, focus on cities with a good foundation for the development of AI, make bold explorations in promoting the development and application of AI, and launch a number of major measures to effectively promote local economic and social development.
Pioneering Policies: Pilot Zones shall play a pioneering role in the development of AI systems, policies, regulations, and standards, promote the coordination of innovation policies with industrial and social policies, strengthen policy reserves, and form a more complete policy system.
Unique Characteristics: Combine local economic and social conditions with the basic conditions for the development of AI to form unique experiences, practices, and development models for the in-depth integration of AI and economic and social development and governance in the intelligence age (智能时代).
(3) Construction Goals
By 2023, we will set up about 20 Pilot Zones, innovate a number of effective policy tools, form a number of typical models for the in-depth integration of AI and economic and social development, accumulate a number of replicable and scalable experiences and practices, and create a group of AI innovation hubs that play major leading roles.
(4) Overall Layout
Serve and support national and regional development strategies: Focus on major regional development strategies such as the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, and the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta; take into account the coordinated development of the eastern, central, western, and northeastern regions; and promote AI as an important leading force for regional development.
Use cities as the primary vehicles of construction: Rely on cities with rich AI innovation resources and strong development foundations, explore new models of AI to empower urban economies, optimize urban governance, and lead high-quality development. Select several counties that have a good foundation for the application of AI and explore new models of AI to lead the counties’ economic development and support rural revitalization strategies.
II. Key Tasks
(1) Carry out demonstrations of AI technology applications to explore new paths to promote the in-depth integration of AI and economic and social development. Focus on the urgent needs of local economic development and the improvement of people’s livelihoods, carry out AI technology demonstrations in the fields of manufacturing, agriculture, logistics, finance, commerce, home (家居), medical care, education, government affairs, transportation, environmental protection, security, urban management, care for the elderly and disabled, and housekeeping services, expand the application scenarios of AI, accelerate the in-depth integration of AI and the real economy, and promote the widespread application of AI to society and to people’s livelihoods.
(2) Carry out AI-based policy experiments to create an institutional environment conducive to AI innovation and development. Carry out policy-based trials centered on data openness and protection, the application of research achievements, intellectual property, security management, talent introduction, finance and taxation, social security, and international cooperation, explore the establishment of institutional mechanisms that support original innovation in AI, form a policy framework and system of regulations and standards adapted to the development of AI, and create a sound environment for AI scientific research, technology development, product innovation, industrial development, and social applications.
(3) Carry out AI-based social experiments to explore new methods and new techniques of governance in the intelligence age. Organize long-term and interdisciplinary social experiments, keep objective records and scientific assessments of the comprehensive impact of AI technology on the behavior of individuals and organizations, employment structures, and changes in income, continuously accumulate data and practical experience, and provide support for governance in the intelligence age.
(4) Promote the construction of AI infrastructure to improve the conditions for the development of AI innovation. Strengthen the construction of network infrastructure, big data infrastructure, and computing infrastructure, improve the intelligence of traditional infrastructure, and form an infrastructure system that supports the widespread application of new generation AI. Build AI R&D bases and open innovation platforms, promote the secure and orderly release (开放) of public data (公共数据), and strengthen the basic conditions for AI R&D and innovation.
III. Application Conditions
The construction of Pilot Zones is primarily based on municipalities, sub-provincial cities, and prefecture-level cities. Cities that intend to apply to construct a Pilot Zone shall meet the following requirements.
(1) Wealth of Scientific Education Resources. Applicants shall possess institutions of higher education with AI academies or research institutes, high-level R&D institutions that conduct research in basic AI or key technology fields, and a number of high-level AI innovation teams.
(2) Strong Industrial Foundation. In principle, the applicant shall be a city with a National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone (国家自主创新示范区) or a China National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone (国家高新区) and have clearly indicated the development of AI as a key industry direction, where the core AI industry exceeds 5 billion yuan Renminbi (RMB) in scale and AI-adjacent industries exceed 20 billion RMB.
(3) Sound Infrastructure. The applicant shall possess rich data resources, relevant data platforms, big data centers, and cloud computing centers and well-developed network infrastructure including mobile communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT; 产业互联网). Priority is given to cities that have deployed national new generation AI open innovation platforms.
(4) Clear Support Measures. The local government shall attach great importance to the development of AI and shall have issued development plans or implementation opinions concerning AI. The local governments shall provide clear funding and policy support for AI, shall have established special funds for AI, and relevant government departments shall have specialized AI promotion mechanisms or institutions.
Certain counties with obvious advantages in the AI industry, robust intelligent infrastructure, outstanding application scenarios, strong technology R&D, and strong capabilities in commercializing S&T achievements (成果转化) can also apply to build national new generation artificial intelligence innovation and development pilot zones.
IV. Construction Procedures
(1) Recommendation and Application. Cities that meet the above application conditions and are willing to build a Pilot Zone shall draft a National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Development Pilot Zone Construction Plan based on their specific infrastructure and conditions. The construction plan shall include basic conditions, construction ideas, construction goals, construction content, and safeguard measures. The construction plan shall be reviewed by the local government of the province (or autonomous region, or municipality) and then be submitted to MOST.
(2) Comprehensive Proof of Concept. MOST shall organize experts to carry out a comprehensive proof of concept of the construction plan of the Pilot Zone. The group of experts shall primarily include experts from the National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Strategic Advisory Committee (国家新一代人工智能战略咨询委员会) and the National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Governance Specialist Committee (国家新一代人工智能治理专业委员会) as well as AI technology experts and policy experts from universities, research institutes, and enterprises.
(3) Start of Construction. MOST shall consider the proof of concept comments and the overall layout of Pilot Zone construction. For places that meet the construction conditions and provide a sophisticated construction plan, MOST shall support the start of Pilot Zone construction according to the relevant procedures and announce this decision publicly.
(4) Operational Management. The local government shall proceed with the relevant work in accordance with the Pilot Zone construction plan. Before the end of December of each year, the local government shall formulate an annual work summary report for the Pilot Zone to be submitted to MOST after review by the relevant science and technology department of the province (or autonomous region, or municipality). MOST shall assess and evaluate the construction of the Pilot Zone in due course.
(5) Demonstration and Promotion. Drawing on its experiences, the Pilot Zone shall propose a number of policy measures and practices that can be promoted for application elsewhere. MOST shall summarize and refine such information and offer it as an example to be followed nationwide.
(1) Organizational Safeguards. MOST shall give full play to the coordinating role of the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan Promotion Office (新一代人工智能发展规划推进办公室) and cooperate with relevant departments to strengthen the system layout, coordinate promotion, and provide policy guidance for Pilot Zone construction. The government of the province (or autonomous region, or municipality) of the Pilot Zone shall effectively strengthen their organizational leadership and work guidance for the Pilot Zone construction.
(2) Support Channels. MOST shall support the construction of Pilot Zones through policies and resources. Local governments shall increase capital investment in Pilot Zone construction, design appropriate policies for Pilot Zone construction, and actively guide enterprises and social forces in participating in the construction of the Pilot Zone.
(3) Propaganda Guidance. Interpret policies to strengthen the construction of Pilot Zones, hold regular exchange seminars, promptly propagandize new progress, new results, and new breakthroughs made in the construction of the Pilot Zones, summarize experience and practice, and create a beneficial environment for AI innovation and development throughout society.
- An English translation of this document is available at: https://www.newamerica.org/cybersecurity-initiative/digichina/blog/full-translation-chinas-new-generation-artificial-intelligence-development-plan-2017/