On 18 October 2020, the Ministry of Science and Technology approved the establishment of four new National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Experimental Zones, in Tianjin, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Hefei. 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 four new zones approved will play a key role especially in three main areas: (i) talent growth, also leveraging on high concentrations of AI-related universities, open AI platforms, or AI champions; (ii) industry development, particularly by boosting application of AI technologies and based on industry-university-research cooperation; (iii) and piloting of institutional reforms, e.g. in terms of standards-formulation, ethics, talent attraction, financing and funding, etc.
The total number of National New Generation AI Development Experimental Zones established is 6. The first was established in February 2019 in Beijing, followed in July by Shanghai (Maqiao Town, within Minhang District).
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.