China had contributed 70.9 percent of the world's patents in artificial intelligence by 2021 with 5.3 percent of the world's professionals in the field, showing China's growing global influence in the AI industry, experts said on Friday.
"The data illustrated that China's AI industry has been gaining more importance in the world," said Zhang Li, president of China Center for Information Industry Development, adding that China's AI patents had surged to 80,785 by end of 2021 from 7,968 as of 2012.
In the past decade, China had launched many favorable policies to promote AI research and development, talent training and applications, thus fueling such rapid growth. It has also been exploring new paths for AI development and mechanisms to let AI technology better serve the economy, said Zhang.
He made the remarks as he released the China Artificial Intelligence Industry Development Index Report during the opening ceremony of the 2022 iFlyTek 1024 Global Developer Festival, a three-day event that kicked off on Friday in Hefei, Anhui province.
The report classified the 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland into four groups based on evaluations of their development climate, innovation competence, basic supporting facilities, capital input and industrialization strengths.
Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province were in the lead group, while Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Sichuan and Hunan provinces formed the group of challengers. Other regions fell into followers and niche regions.
For example, Anhui has been moving up in the AI industry rapidly in recent years, with more than 90 of the province's technology breakthroughs, applications and talent from the provincial capital Hefei, said Zhang.
"Digitization could provide powerful strength for recovery of the world economy, while we believe AI is a core engine for the digital economy," said Liu Qingfeng, founder and president of iFlyTek, a Hefei-based AI developer ranking fifth among the country's top 100 AI firms, according to the report.
As AI development is inseparable from advancement of computing competence, research in quantum computing could provide powerful support in the future, according to Pan Jianwei, member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Also executive vice-president of the Hefei-based University of Science and Technology of China, Pan had led the university's researchers in creating the world's first light-based prototype quantum computer, called Jiuzhang, in 2020.
Using a new method of manipulating 76 photons, it can perform an extremely difficult calculation known as Gaussian boson sampling in 200 seconds. The same task would take the world's fastest classical supercomputer, Fugaku, around 600 million years.
Last year, his team launched the Jiuzhang-2, the second edition of the computer, which could manipulate 113 photons simultaneously.
In his speech at Friday's ceremony, Pan said the team had recently made major breakthroughs for developing Jiuzhang-3, whose computing speed was expected to be 1,000 trillion times faster than the world's most powerful supercomputer for specific tasks.