On 29 July 2019, the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government released the Work Plan for Promoting the Establishment of the Shanghai Maqiao Artificial Intelligence Innovation Experimental Zone (Hu Fu Ban Fa  No. 19). The plan aims to push forward the establishment and development of an experimental zone for AI development in Maqiao Town, located in Shanghai’s Minhang District.
Specifically, the work plan outlines a “three-step strategy” for the next 10 years, aiming to make the Maqiao a pioneer zone for AI development, a cluster zone for AI industrial application, and an experimental zone for the city of the future:
- Short-term strategy (2019-2021): optimisation of the top-down organisational structure; focus on the establishment of pilot testing and application spots (focusing on urban management, public services, and smart ecosystems); and cultivation of competitive enterprises (5 to 8 leading enterprises, around 50 innovative SMEs) registering a total output value of 20 billion RMB.
- Mid-term strategy (2022-2025): focus on establishing an integrated cluster and ecosystem. By then, around 50 world-level AI enterprises and organisations must have been attracted to Shanghai; 8 to 10 leading and benchmark enterprises and around 100 innovative SMEs nurtured: the total output value will have exceeded 50 billion RMB.
- Long-term strategy (2026-2030): clustering of high-quality resources (8 to 10 world-level innovative firms or teams), and deep integration of AI development with urban development (in all aspects of production, living, ecology, etc.).
The work plan also outlines the priority sectors and areas for: industrial development; and application:
- Priority sectors for industrial development:
- intelligent carrier systems (aviation, aerospace, shipping, etc., in line with Minhang District’s core competitiveness);
- intelligent robots (education, companionship, sport and rehabilitation robots);
- intelligent perception systems (manufacturing, automotive, and medical sector); and
- intelligent new hardware systems.
- Priority sectors for application:
- Smart+ fine management (urban governance system based on online internet technologies, accurate monitoring, active discovery, and intelligent decision-making);
- Smart+ precision services (customised and personalised government hotline, websites and services based on natural language processing and service robots); and
- Smart+ refined life (intelligent house appliances, intelligent healthcare, AI-aided medical diagnosis, imaging, treatment, intelligent education, elderly care, etc.)
The local administration will play a leading and guiding role throughout the implementation of the strategy. For instance, it will grant strong administrative and financial support to AI enterprises and research structures expanding their R&D and innovation activities. Both domestic and international entrepreneurs will be strongly encouraged to launch their businesses or to incubate their ideas within the zone. Several government-backed services (e.g. innovation services, fintech services, talent services, etc.) will be established to assist in this purpose. Dedicated space and facilities will be expanded within the zone.
This is the second experimental zone established in China. The first was officially established in February 2019 in Beijing.