The booth of Wexiao.com, a sub-brand of Tencent Education, during an education exhibition in Chongqing. (Photo: China Daily)
Chinese tech powerhouse Tencent Holdings Ltd is getting serious about carving out a stake in the rapidly expanding technology sector after seeing the huge potential of artificial intelligence.
Tencent Education unveiled a new brand dubbed Tengshi School on Thursday to nurture innovative AI talents for the blossoming industry. It marks the first brand under Tencent Education after the company announced the formation of the brand in May this year.
The newly set up Tengshi School aims to establish a complete training system from comprehensive training to employment recommendations and guidance, Tencent Education said.
Wang Shuai, vice-president of Tencent Education, noted that Tengshi School highlighted a new starting point for the company to deepen the integration of industry and education, saying it will work with more colleges to promote the robust development of the tech ecosystem.
"The AI talent gap in China exceeds 5 million," Wang added."The AI boom is sweeping across the globe and it is accelerating quickly. It is the key goal of China's AI development plan to cultivate AI talents that are able to adapt needs to the developments of the times and drive industrial transformation."
Ma Qiang, the deputy director of the National Steering Committees for Industrial and Information Vocational Education and Teaching, agreed with Wang's views.
"With the rapidly developing AI technologies, universities and vocational colleges with the intention of opening AI programs also face many challenges, such as a lack of a complete curriculum system, practical experimental cases and qualified teachers," Ma said.
To meet the increasing need for AI-related talents, Tengshi School said it will mainly focus on AI, big data, cloud computing, mobile apps development and information security.
It will offer a wide range of training models, including jointly setting up long-term university labs and industrial bases, short-term training classes for teachers, students and those working for the government and enterprises, initiate contests, and offer research, entrepreneurship and innovation activities.
"To cultivate talents with strong software technology skills and professional skills, we need to work with major industrial platforms," said Wang Yinfeng, deputy head of the Institute of Software at the Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology.
"As a major tech giant in the industry, Tencent has strong cloud computing technologies and the ability to inspire innovation in the market. It is able to provide colleges with comprehensive AI platforms and services, which will help strengthen training and education and boost innovation."
Tencent has also signed a cooperation agreement with the Shandong Vocational College of Light Industry and the Nanjing Institute of Technology.
Under the partnership, Tencent and the colleges will jointly build the Tencent cloud lab platform and support teaching experimental modules to develop talents for strategic emerging industries and the next-generation information technologies sector.
In 2017, Tencent signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ministry of Education to focus on the development of new engineering talent training, along with innovation and entrepreneurship education reform.