On 18 February 2020, during a meeting of the Office for Promoting the Construction of Beijing as STI Centre – was chaired by MOST Minister Wang Zhigang and Beijing Mayor Chen Jining – the establishment of the Beijing New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development National Experimental Zone was officially announced. The establishment of the experimental zone, the first of its kind across the country, marks the beginning of a new era for Beijing in pushing forward AI industries.
The Beijing New Generation AI Development National Experimental Zone will play a key role in three main areas:
- AI talent growth, also thanks to the high concentration of AI-related universities, academies, and expert teams in the city;
- Industry development, particularly based on an integrated model of industry-university-research cooperation, on the establishment of open innovation platforms and of application spots for AI technologies; and
- Piloting institutional reforms and environment, especially in terms of the formulation of standards and regulations for industry, technology as well as ethics, which should then be replicated and expanded to other areas nation-wide.
This is only the latest initiative for consolidating Beijing’s role as a global hub for AI. In early 2018, the Beijing Frontier International AI Research Institute was officially established, whose main task will be to establish and coordinate a series of research centres and labs focusing on specific segments, e.g. basic research, smart societal innovation, and AI patents. In November in the same year, the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI) was officially announced: formed by AI leaders such as Peking University, Tsinghua University, CAS, Baidu, ByteDance, etc., the Academy will commit to the realisation of key breakthroughs in AI theories, methodologies, tools, and systems. Finally, local authorities also announced that in the short-term a series of “No Man’s Lands” in Beijing where scientists will be able to experiment, test, integrate, and apply new AI-related theories, methodologies, tools, systems and technologies – with very few restrictions. Beijing is also planning to invest 13.8 billion RMB to build an AI technology park in its western Mentougou suburb district within the next five years, which could host up to 400 AI enterprises.
State Council’s Plan for the Development of New Generation Artificial Intelligence (Guo Fa  No. 35)
Implementation Measures for Accelerating the High-Quality Development of Artificial Intelligence in Shanghai (Hu Jing Xin Ji  No. 569)