China Unveils Second Cohort of Artificial Intelligence Innovation Zones

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The Chinese central government has announced the dramatic expansion of its pilot zones for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) innovations.

On 19 February the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced the launch of a second cohort of “national artificial intelligence innovation application pilot zones” in five cities around China, including Beijing, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

The new group of zones follow the launch of a first cohort of three AI pilot zones previously, in the cities of Shanghai, Shenzhen and Jinan.

The Beijing AI pilot zone will “accelerate technological R&D in areas including core algorithms and foundational software and accelerate the development of smart infrastructure,” with other focal areas to include “smart manufacturing, smart networked vehicles and smart cities.”

The Tianjin pilot zone will be situated in the Binhai New Area and focus on smart manufacturing, smart ports and “smart communities,” while the Hangzhou pilot zone will also look at the application of artificial intelligence to urban management and smart finance.

The Guangzhou AI pilot zone will leverage its location in the Greater Bay Area, while for the Chengdu pilot zone the focus will be its position at the centre of Sichuan province close to Chongqing municipality, and as a key hub of the Belt and Road initiative.

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