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Alphabet’s Plan to Expand AI in China


Dec. 29 2017, Updated 10:30 a.m. ET

Google is deepening its push in China

Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google is striving to push its artificial intelligence (or AI) services into China (MCHI) (FXI). Google is planning to open a new research facility in Beijing, China, which would be entirely dedicated to AI. Google announced this development during its second annual conference in Shanghai.

Google is also planning to create a small research team in the new AI center in China and is looking for regional talent that can increase its machine learning proficiency.

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Why China?

According to Bain & Company, China’s cloud computing market could be worth $20 billion by 2020. Google’s AI head, Fei-Fei Li, also believes that China has become the company’s core focus region for artificial intelligence.

Chinese companies such as Alibaba (BABA), Tencent Holdings, and Baidu (BIDU) have a significant presence in China’s cloud computing market. In such a crowded market, Google is opening a small AI center as its latest effort to capitalize on growing strength in AI in China and the government’s support of technology.

Strict regulations in China

Google (GOOGL) already has an active business in China, and numerous companies in the country are using its popular Android operating system. Google is also promoting its TensorFlow software for developers to create in-depth learning models and perform tasks like automatically translating text.

However, operating in China can be challenging, as the country has strict laws and regulations that do not allow foreign firms to control the domestic Internet. In 2010, the Chinese government blocked Google’s search engine, apps, email, as well as its cloud storage services.


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