As widely publicised, in July, the Chinese government issued a long term policy for the development of artificial intelligence in China (the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Plan), laying out plans for China to become the world’s premier AI innovation centre by 2030. Clear financial targets were set: 

TimelineTarget value of core AI industryTarget value of AI-related fields
By 2020RMB150 billionRMB1 trillion
By 2025RMB400 billionRMB5 trillion
By 2030RMB1 trillionRMB10 trillion

Since then, China has continued to take steps in furtherance of the goals in its ambitious AI plan. 

R&D incentives

The government has announced a series of measures to entice foreign R&D institutions to participate in the development of a world-class technology innovation center in Shanghai (see the Opinions released this month). These include:

  • Providing financial support of up to RMB5 million for any R&D centre that employs more than 100 researchers.
  • Providing up to 30% rental support for 3 years (subject to an upper limit of 1000sqm, at RMB8/sqm/day).
  • Providing up to 50% of project costs (subject to a cap of RMB3 million) for intelligent and green manufacturing projects.
  • Awarding up to RMB250,000 for each granted PCT patent. 
  • Allowing foreign R&D professionals that are employed by foreign R&D centre to apply for Chinese work permits directly, and increasing the validity period of multiple entry visas. 

The Opinions also pledge to create a healthy legal environment focusing on intellectual property rights protection. 

Measures to assist innovative start-up companies with fundraising

China’s stock exchanges jointly released regulations last month setting out guidelines permitting Third Board listed start-up companies from the “innovation level” to issue convertible corporate bonds by private placement. China’s first two “start-up convertible corporate bonds” were successfully issued on 16 October.  

Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Canada’s TMX Group also recently announced plans to collaborate on fostering the development of Chinese and Canadian tech innovation companies. One area of collaboration identified is to launch index studies revolving around innovation and start-up development.