On 5 November 2020, the Ministry of Science and Technology approved the establishment of a new National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Experimental Zone in Deqing County, Huzhou municipality, Zhejiang province. First introduced by the State Council’s Plan for the Development of New Generation Artificial Intelligence (Guo Fa  No. 35), National New Generation AI Innovation Development Experimental Zones are specific areas established in cooperation with local governments to promote demonstration of AI technologies and to pilot experimental policies for AI development, replicable in other areas of the country at a later stage.
The new zone will play a key role especially in two main areas: (i) industry development and conversion of technology results, particularly in the field of autonomous driving and smart agriculture; and (ii) and innovative institutional reforms, e.g. in terms of talent attraction, enterprise growh and nurturing.
The purpose is to make Deqing County a key role model for other counties nation-wide to follow and replicate.
The total number of National New Generation AI Development Experimental Zones established is 7. The first was established in February 2019 in Beijing, followed in July by Shanghai (Maqiao Town, within Minhang District) and in October by Tianjin, Hefei, Hangzhou and Shenzhen.
According to MOST’s Work Guidelines on the Establishment of National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Innovation Development Experimental Zones (Guo Ke Fa Gui  No. 298) issued in September 2019, around 20 AI experimental zones will be established by 2023, focusing on cities with strong AI foundations, especially across the Jing-Jin-Ji region, the Yangtze River Delta and the Greater Bay Area, and taking into account integrated development between eastern, central and western regions as well as China’s northeast.