China is increasing its level of participation and international influence in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2019, 28,700 papers on AI were published in the country, an increase of 12.4 percent over the previous year, according to a New Report released on October, 22.

The report, released at the Pujiang Innovation Forum in Shanghai, was compiled by the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development (CASTED) and other institutions both at home and abroad.

The report aims to objectively reflect the progress in implementing the national plan for next-generation AI development, unveil emerging challenges and predict the future trends of the sector.

According to the report, 21 of the 100 most-cited papers on AI in the past five years were published by China, which is the second highest in the world. In 2019, China received over 30,000 AI patent applications, an increase of 52.4 percent over the previous year.

Li Xiuquan, a research fellow with CASTED, noted that more and more countries have now recognized the huge potential of AI for technological, industrial and social transformation. Sixteen countries, including Portugal and Spain, published plans for AI development in 2019. Meanwhile, at least eighteen countries were researching and formulating national strategies in the field.

“From a global perspective, China’s AI development is well-prepared, but there are still areas where we fall short.” Li explained. Li believes that China’s advantages lie in research output, industrial development, and policy environment.

Meanwhile there is still room for improvement regarding the country’s capacity for cutting-edge S&T, high-end talent reserve, and its open-source AI ecosystem.

China promoted international cooperation on AI development with even greater openness in 2019. For example, the number of AI papers published with global collaboration continued to increase and China’s contribution to AI open-source communities ranked the world’s second.

In addition, AI has also become an important theme for global cooperation under the Belt & Road Initiative.