Chinese Public AI R&D Spending Report


Chinese Public AI R&D Spending: Provisional Findings

Ashwin Acharya

Zachary Arnold

December 2019

China aims to become “the world’s primary AI innovation center” by 2030. Toward that end, the Chinese government is spending heavily on AI research and development (R&D)—but perhaps not as heavily as some have thought. This memo provides a provisional, open-source estimate of China’s spending.

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The article references research by Zachary Arnold and Ashwin Acharya on Chinese public AI R&D spending, which concluded that “Chinese spending in 2018 was on the same order of magnitude as U.S. planned spending for FY 2020.”

"Reports of China’s expenditure on AI may be overblown,” finds a recent CSET report by Zachary Arnold and Ashwin Acharya. China "has probably not been dramatically outspending the US government on AI R&D since it unveiled the national plan."

CSET’s Helen Toner, Lorand Laskai and Jeff Ding contributed to a special report by DigiChina, a joint Stanford University and New America project.