China’s AI industry has this one huge advantage over the US

China’s 1.4 billion population has laid an enviable foundation for the artificial intelligence (AI) industry, thanks to the tremendous volume of data produced daily. In particular, the nation’s 730 million internet users, including the world’s largest market of smartphone users, contribute to the vast data gold mine. Tencent’s WeChat has almost 940 million users worldwide and Alibaba Group has more than 420 million active buyers on Taobao, while Baidu has the country’s leading search engine. The tech trinity is leading many other companies to buildup their databanks. With technology giants collecting vast user data through their proprietary platforms, service users have not only constituted a massive potential market for AI adoption in the future, but it has also become a priceless database for companies to improve their technologies. “It’s not only the quantity, the quality of data in China has also surpassed its rivals,” said Zhijin Xia, partner at Vertex, a venture capital firm under Temasek Holdings. “Chinese heavily rely on their mobile phones, which generates valuable data about the users.” For example, China’s popular bike-sharing services provide cheap transportation options. But when riders rent a bicycle, firms will keep track of users’ movements using GPS devices in the bike.…

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