Shanghai-based software company Zhizhen Network Technology, which sued Apple four years ago over a voice recognition patent for the iPhone Siri "personal assistant", plans to expand into the US in 2017 with ambitions of becoming a global leader in artificial intelligence. It will set up offices in Hong Kong and Silicon Valley to develop software to cater to local clients, a fresh sign that Chinese technology firms are speeding up their "go-global" drive to take on big-names such as Microsoft and Amazon for world markets. "Taking a global view, it's time to set sail for the largely untapped territory of artificial intelligence," said Yuan Hui, founder and chairman of Zhizhen. "Internationalisation is a necessary step we will take to develop our businesses." In a report on the top 10 technology trends for 2017, IT research firm Gartner listed Zhizhen's Xiaoi Robot, Siri, Cortana of Microsoft and Echo of Amazon as world leaders in intelligent conversational systems.
Rising demand for artificial intelligence-powered chatbots with sentiment analysis -- a fancy word for emotion -- is creating new growth opportunities for businesses in the area, China Daily reports. "An increasing number of businesses are asking for chatbots with more functions than just being conversation assistants. They want chatbots that have a better sense of empathy, are more interactive, and are able to transform consumer emotions into data and conduct sentiment analysis," said Xu Yiya, vice-president of Xiao-i Robot Technology Co. Ltd., an AI customer service provider. Xu said sentiment analysis can help chatbots better understand consumer needs. Increasing demand for AI-powered chatbots with sentiment analysis is creating new business opportunities in the booming AI sentiment analysis market, which is estimated to see a 21% annual increase from 2019 to 2025, according to market analysis company QYReports, as business owners are worrying that customers may not be satisfied talking to emotionless chatbots.
The release continues, "In recent years, the emerging of AlphaGo from Google, or Watson from IBM, as well as the opening of bots platforms of Facebook, Telegram and other companies, has brought [the] bots economy to the public. However, Xiaoi started the industrial application of bots from as early as 2006. This low-profile Chinese company had shared the benefits of AI with over 500 million people. Pinpin Zhu said that bots were going from single usage to platforms. Bots were widely applied on Xiaoi's platform especially as VCAs.
A new list of China's top 50 artificial intelligence companies indicates that the majority of them enjoy the backing of either the government or the country's incumbent tech giants. The China AI Top 50 Ranking was unveiled by China Money Network at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China on Wednesday. According to China Money Network founder Nina Xiang the report looked at more than 1,000 companies in the Chinese Ai sector and involved the participation of a broad range of industry experts. Companies were assessed on the basis of 12 items across five areas, including tech capability, maturity of products, fund-raising, business fundamentals and future potential. The report revealed that 27 out of the top 50 Chinese AI companies were backed by either government-associated funds or the leading tech giants of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.