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CRN: Competition for Chinese and American AI Talent Intensifies

China Review News (CRN), a Beijing sponsored media based in Hong Kong, reported on how the world-wide competition for artificial intelligence (AI) experts has intensified. The areas involved include driverless cars, consumer data analysis, voice recognition, and facial recognition systems.

The “universal language” at the artificial intelligence conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana, in February of this year appeared to be Chinese. Chinese Internet companies such as the Alibaba Group and Tencent actively recruited talent.

According to the White Paper on Global Artificial Intelligence that Tencent’s research department published, companies around the world need about one million people who are experts in the area of artificial intelligence, but there are only 300,000 professionals who are actually active in this field. About 370 educational institutions around the world have the relevant research capabilities. Each year, they can produce around 20,000 experts. To fill such a serious talent gap, companies have gone abroad to search around the world for talent.

China and the United States are engaged in a fierce competition in the field of artificial intelligence. China’s state-issued plan for the “Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Strategy,” released in 2017, pointed out that by 2020, the overall technology and application of artificial intelligence will be synchronized to the world’s advanced level. By 2030, the artificial intelligence theory, technology, and applications will reach the world’s leading level.

By 2025, the amount of data that the world generates will reach 10 times that of 2016. How to utilize this huge data will involve the work of how to get those who are talented in artificial intelligence and who have mastered high-level mathematics, statistics, and information processing knowledge.

Source: China Review News (CRN), June 26, 2018
http://hk.crntt.com/doc/1051/1/4/4/105114402.html?coluid=58&kindid=1212&docid=105114402

Xinhua: We Must Keep the Alarm on after the ZTE Shock

Xinhua published an article on its WeChat Official Account discussing the lesson learned from the ZTE incident after the U.S. Department of Commerce issued the notice on May 25, 2018, regarding the lifting of the ban on ZTE’s sales. Below is an excerpt from the article:

ZTE escaped the disaster, but the Americans almost stripped it alive by taking off one layer of its skin. The hard-earned money that ZTE made over the past few years was all made for the Americans. The lesson is very, very painful. The lesson is at least three-fold:

First, Chinese companies cannot have the slightest mentality of taking chances. In particular, in some countries, politicians have already made Chinese companies their special targets. If they try to take all kinds of chances, sometimes they don’t even know how they became dead.

Second, there is no line that the United States won’t cross today. To be fair, ZTE committed some wrongdoings, but were they absolutely worth the death penalty? However, the United States killed it with one strike. Its intention is self-evident. This also helped the world to poke through an illusion. In the past, it was always thought that the United States would not be unreasonable to the point of wiping the opponent out, similar to the practice of “trade terrorism.” However, the reality is cruel. There is nothing that the United States will care not to break. Fair trade? Fundamental principles? Everything can be thrown out of the window.

Third, it is still the word: core technology, core technology, and core technology.

Although ZTE escaped the disaster, it is believed that the psychological shock brought to the Chinese people is still quite far-reaching. We must be clear-headed. In many areas, we have indeed achieved amazing results. We must also know that, in some areas, we still have a big gap.

Especially in the area of core technology, Chinese leaders warned that core technology is the country’s most important device. If a house is built on someone else’s foundation, it may not be able to survive storms. The core technology under other people’s control is our biggest hidden danger.

The last point in particular means we must keep the alarm on!

This point, we must remember that knowing shame is akin to courage!

We must also thank the Americans for reminding us of this point!

Source: Xinhua, May 26, 2018
http://www.xinhuanet.com/world/2018-05/26/c_1122892029.htm

Quotes from Xi Jinping’s Speech at the 2018 Meeting of Academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences

On May 28, 2018, the 19th Meeting of Academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the 14th Meeting of Academicians from the Chinese Academy of Engineering were held in Beijing, where Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech. Xi’s major points (dubbed as golden quotations) were summarized in the Forum of Powerful Nations section of the People’s Daily website. Below are the first six quotations.

1. For China to flourish and rejuvenate, we must vigorously develop science and technology and strive to become the world’s major scientific center and innovative high ground.

2. The situation is pressing, the challenges are pressing, and the mission is compelling. The majority of scientific and technological workers in our country must grasp the general trend, seize the first-mover advantage, face the problems and difficulties, aim for the cutting edge in science and technology in the world, and lead the direction of technological development.

3. We must soberly realize that some historical intersections may have resonance with each other, and some historical intersections may pass us by.

4. Practice has repeatedly told us that we cannot expect to acquire the critical core technology through request, purchase, or begging.

5. (We should) make great efforts in the key areas and areas that have high barriers, gather elite forces, and make strategic arrangements to make breakthroughs as soon as possible.

6. (We should) take the key common technology, leading-edge technology, modern engineering technology, and disruptive technological innovation as breakthrough points and strive to be able to own and control the critical core technologies so that we can firmly hold the controlling power over innovation and development in our own hands.

Sources:
1. Sina, May 29, 2018,
https://news.sina.cn/2018-05-29/detail-ihcffhsu8968435.d.html?vt=4&pos=108&his=0
2. Xinhua, May 28, 2018,
http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2018-05/28/c_1122901308.htm

Duowei: China’s Rise May Be Entering a Bottleneck Period; Two High-Level Officials Disclosed “Internal and External Problems”

Recently, the “2018 China Enterprise Credit Development Forum and the 9th Public Welfare Ceremony for Integrity” were held in Beijing.

He Zhen, former Deputy Chairman of the NPC Financial and Economic Committee, said in a speech at the forum that China’s local debt is estimated to be about 40 trillion yuan ($6.24 trillion). Although the scale is still within the acceptable range, none of the local governments want to repay their debts. “Now, if you want someone to repay these debts, he will say that we don’t even have the money to pay wages; we are having big financial difficulties. What are we going to do? Therefore, regarding those debts that are owed at present, before any mention is made about paying down the principal, they can’t even pay the interest that is due.”

He believes that China has issued too much currency. The data shows that, at the end of 2017, M2 was 167.68 trillion yuan , ($26.158 trillion), which is 25 percent of what China’s GDP was that year and is higher than any other country in the world.

At another conference, Li Ruogu, President of the China Export-Import Bank, expressed his views on China’s external situation. He specifically mentioned that the U.S.’s judgment about China has undergone a fundamental change. Sino-U.S. trade friction is essentially a controversy on the direction of China’s development.

Li Ruogu said that Sino-U.S. relations will not continue along the path they have taken over the past 40 years. Specifically, in the United States, no matter what party or class, most of them advocate a tough attitude towards China. This allows the U.S. to move beyond the partisan line on its China strategy and operate quickly and effectively.

Source: Duowei News, May 22, 2018
http://news.dwnews.com/china/news/2018-05-22/60059651.html

Duowei: Xi Jinping Talked about ZTE on Five Occasions and Warned the Military Not to Fall behind in Technology

In April, 2018, the Trump administration announced that it would implement an embargo prohibiting U.S. companies from selling core components, including semiconductor chips, to the Chinese company ZTE. {The company was punished because it violated the United States sanctions against Iran and North Korea and then lied about it.} ZTE’s main business became paralyzed at once. China’s neck was being chocked in the area of core technology. This instantly sent a shockwave across China’s ruling circles and society. In the short one month period since the incident took place, Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, has spoken out about it five times. He said that “a great power can’t rely on other people for important tools.” He issued a call to catch up with the core technology.

As the whole country talked about the ZTE incident and disputed the policies over {the development of technology}, China’s official press published Xi Jinping’s new book, Excerpts from Xi Jinping’s Discussion of the Overall National Security Concept. In the book, Xi raised the core technologies issue to the level of national security. The book stated, even before the recent ZTE incident and the Sino-U.S. trade friction, that Xi had decided that China should have control of its own chips, operating systems and other core technologies. In his two speeches in July and August, 2013, Xi claimed that having the advantage of core technologies is essential to gain a strong international presence. “We must make great efforts in key areas and areas where our necks can be choked. This is also true for the military.” Although China has spent a lot of money on upgrading its military, in a speech in 2014, Xi still warned the military because it lagged behind in technology.

On April 17, 2018, the official media People’s Daily published an article responding that China “will increase its investment in chips at any cost.” The media then published news that China would increase capital by another 500 billion yuan (US $78 billion) for a special fund that had first been established in 2014, which will focus on supporting China’s domestic chip production and technology. The support will target three areas, including memory chips, integrated circuit designs, and compound semiconductors.

On May 16, 2018, Xi Jinping inspected the Academy of Military Sciences and re-emphasized the acceleration of independent innovation to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies as soon as possible. In connection with Xi’s recent formation of the Military and Civil Integration Development Committee, this seems to indicate that Xi’s intention is to have the military and military departments take the lead in catching up with China’s core technology.

Source: Duowei News, May 22. 2018
http://news.dwnews.com/china/news/2018-05-22/60059635.htmlfo

Duowei: Trump’s Miscalculation in the ZTE Crisis

Duowei News, a Pro-Beijing Chinese media in the U.S., published an article commenting on U.S. President Trump’s change of attitude toward the Chinese tech company ZTE Corporation. Below is an excerpt from the article:

On May 13, Trump said on Twitter that he is working together with Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve the plight of China’s ZTE Corporation. In response, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs answered on May 14, saying that China appreciates the positive attitude of the U.S. on the issue of ZTE Corporation and is maintaining close communication with the U.S. on the implementation of specific details. Indeed, this tweet suddenly showed an appearance of goodwill toward ZTE. However, if we review the entire ZTE event, we can see that this “play” performed by Trump has ulterior motives. The ZTE incident itself is not a trade issue, but it was forced to wear a trade war hat because of the timing of the U.S. review.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs “appreciated” this (Trump’s reversal of ZTE’s punishment). Trump could use it to tout his ability to “be able to make friends with China and protect the interests of the United States at the same time.” However, Trump’s “miscalculation” lies in the structural contradiction between China and the United States. Whoever laughs until the end is the one who laughs the best. The so-called “China-U.S. trade war” continues to this day. The issue of trade between China and the United States is no longer the core issue. The prominent structural contradictions will be the biggest crux of Sino-U.S. relations for a considerable period of time into the future. This “war” is a protracted war. It not only requires strength but also patience. From the first severe punishment to the sudden change in the attitude of the United States, it will not be so important whether it will eventually bring about the rebirth of ZTE. What is important is that this move of the United States completely awakens the Chinese scientific and technological community. Due to the economic take-off and some achievements in the field of science and technology, many people in China have indeed forgotten that there is still a huge gap remaining with the United States. The issue of “China Chip” has exposed China’s problem of independent research and development. It has become a catalyst for China’s scientific and technological research and development.

After the ZTE incident, not only did China’s official media People’s Daily surprisingly express that China had to “increase chip investments at all cost.” Xi Jinping also emphasized in the inspection tour in Hubei at the end of April that “we must speed up major breakthroughs in chip technology.” We must “climb to the peak of semiconductor storage technology in the world.” In his newly published book, “Xi Jinping’s excerpt on the overall national security concept,” he recorded “winning the battle of science and technology” as one of the most important issues.

If Trump thinks that “hitting a slap, then giving a sweet date” is a way to make Chinese companies give in, then he may be wrong. Even if the ZTE problem can be resolved with his help, Chinese companies will certainly continue with the sense of crisis and urgency at this moment. They will no longer be willing to have others control them in the area of core technology because the ZTE event allows them to understand that this can determine the company’s life or death.

Source: Duowei News, May 14, 2018
http://news.dwnews.com/global/news/2018-05-14/60057892.html

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