From aviation to AI: China's new industrial holy grail

China's AI strategy is comprehensive; not so the US'. But the latter has more experience operating in global markets. In the race for AI leadership, China needs to learn new ways of operating.

China Aviation Plaza lies in the north-west of Beijing, in the centre of Zhongguancun, an area that has been dubbed China's Silicon Valley. The area has been designated as a science park since the early days of communist China, and has witnessed the country's journey to becoming an industrial superpower.

In its early days, as well as being home to research institutes and universities, it was a hub for China's aviation sector. From the 1960s to the 1980s, this was where my grandmother, an accountant in the Aviation Industry Bureau, used to work. For close to three decades, she would report for work (which in the early years involved plugging away at sums on an abacus) six days a week.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2019, with the headline 'From aviation to AI: China's new industrial holy grail'. Print Edition | Subscribe