Alphabet Inc.’s Google is widening its scope in China as it aims to get an advantage over its rivals in the field of artificial intelligence AI.
The company stated that it is going to announce the opening of its new during its second annual developer’s conference in Shanghai. In their statement, the company said that the Google AI China Center would house a small group of researchers that would be aided by hundreds of China-based engineers.
Google has been restructuring its presence in the world’s second largest economy, where it went against the wishes of the government seven years ago for refusing to self-censor search content, a move that saw most of their services blocked in the country. The tech giants have been concluding plans hiring and promotion of its TensorFlow AI tools, some features that CEO Sundar Pichai talked about when he visited China earlier this month.
Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting commented that “showing China you’re contributing to the country’s development through creating jobs, training engineers, and ultimately building a higher tech proficiency base helps build goodwill with China.”
It is also an added bonus that the government of China has made AI a priority, which the policymakers in the country announced six months ago that they are planning to develop an industry that would generate 400 billion Yuan ($60 billion) of annual output by 2025 and would ultimately become a world leader in the sector by 2030.
The latest move by Google to formalize its AI presence in China is an indication that companies and the governments of both China and the U.S are in a race to fully determine how the art and science of AI will be applied in various areas across the globe.
Google didn’t specify how many workers they would be hiring, though they stated that they have plans to build out the team even more and is currently recruiting.
Fei-Fei Li, the chief scientist at Google’s cloud unit who will also head the Beijing research centre stated that “It will be a small team focused on advancing basic AI research in publications, academic conferences and knowledge exchange.”
Attracting highly skilled and talented individuals in this field wouldn’t be easy as Google faces stiff competition from local giants like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. who boost advantages such as domination of the domestic tech scene, offer engineers a potent blend of unrivalled user datasets and have better pay packages.