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MNCs welcome in smart R&D
2021-07-09 
A child plays with a robot at the 2021 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Ministry unveils grand vision for tech-enabled future at a global event in key metro

China welcomes multinational corporations seeking to establish artificial intelligence research and development facilities in the country, said Xiao Yaqing, minister of industry and information technology, on Thursday.

Concerted endeavors by all the parties concerned hold the key to accelerated transition into the "intelligent era", Xiao said.

He was addressing the gathering at the opening of 2021 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. Xiao said China should join hands with all the parties concerned to strengthen AI-related technology innovation and forge cooperation.

"We encourage and support R&D institutions and enterprises to strengthen exchanges," Xiao told a packed audience comprising, among others, tech luminaries and business executives.

Such joint efforts can help "overcome technological difficulties and contribute our wisdom in the accelerated march into the intelligent era", he said.

China ranks first in terms of the number of AI-related invention patents, Xiao said. The country has formed an entire industrial chain and application scenarios, and has made remarkable progress in areas like image recognition and voice recognition.

To further advance AI's development, Xiao encouraged all sides to leverage rich data and application scenarios generated by the world's largest consumer and application market, and called for the co-creation of high-quality AI governance to ensure the safe development of the promising sector.

Shanghai, which is looking to emerge as China's AI highland with global influence, will serve as a "testbed and barometer" for global AI development, said Li Qiang, the city's Party secretary, at the event.

To reach its goal, Shanghai will strive to build a global innovation network that will foster an open-source ecosystem, encourage indigenous innovation, forge "super scenarios" for AI to gain ground, and embark on safe and agile governance of AI.

There is no doubt that China leads the way in AI, said Alan Gabor, president of Merck China, a prominent science and technology company that set up a booth at the event venue.

Merck is showcasing a variety of AI-based solutions in life sciences and electronics segments where AI can be used to enhance customer health and facilitating smaller but more powerful chips in a data-driven world.

"We set up this booth to demonstrate what we can achiev