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Communications of the ACM

China Region special section: Hot topics

AI Start-Ups in China

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Chinese AI businesses have been growing rapidly since 2010. They have attracted significant investment from Internet giants and a vast number of emerging AI companies have emerged. Over the past decade, Chinese AI start-ups have gradually moved away from noisy bubbles and landed in an investment boom. In 2020, when people were fighting against the pandemic, CloudMinds, an AI start-up based in Beijing, developed a humanoid service robot named Cloud Ginger XR-1. Ginger played an important role in local hospitals, delivering food and medication to patients in a contactless manner when it was needed the most. Moreover, Ginger entertained patients, freeing up doctors and medical teams to focus on more critical health matters.

China ranked second worldwide in total investments in AI startups. China's AI start-up ecosystem was lagging behind U.S. in 2017, according to a McKinsey Global Institute analysis of the country's AI sector.1 However, the mountains of data available due to China's population served as a precondition for training AI systems, so the country's global ranking soon soared.


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