China's government aims to overtake the U.S. in artificial intelligence by 2030 and become a world leader in technology. This week, China's homegrown tech giants Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu took the competition to the U.S., showcasing the best of their innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. At what Bloomberg termed "The biggest gadget show on the planet," Chinese tech companies shared space with startups from all over the world in fields such as cloud computing, drone technology and autonomous and electric vehicles. Of the 4,500 exhibitors at the show, one third were Chinese companies. Highlighting how far China has come in the global competition for technological leadership, American exhibitors only outnumbered Chinese exhibitors by about 50 companies.
"As recently as a decade ago, few expected China's remarkable digital breakthrough," Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng wrote in a recent article for China-US Focus. "In fact, both of the country's key Internet pioneers, Jack Ma of Alibaba and Pony Ma of Tencent, experienced early failures." At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Alibaba displayed a range of its new cutting-edge technology, including facial-recognition payment systems and a voice assistant. Baidu, China's equivalent of Google, exhibited its self-driving platform, capable of autonomous driving even at night, and its 5G technology.
As China-US Focus contributor Lu Chen wrote, "The U.S. currently is still the dominant player in artificial intelligence, although China is demonstrating the strongest momentum. However, it remains an open question who will be calling the shots in the future." If the Consumer Electronics Show is a signal of what is to come, tech competition between China and the U.S. is likely to remain fierce.
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