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Google's Strategic Move to Open Research Center Focused on Artificial Intelligence in China

Google today officially confirmed about the launch of Artificial Intelligence Center in Beijing, China. Know full story.

Google's Strategic Move to Open Research Center Focused on Artificial Intelligence in China

Google today officially confirmed about the launch of Artificial Intelligence Center in Beijing, China. The announcement was done by Google Chief Scientist Fei-Fei Li. The new Center will focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning based research supported by Google engineers operating in China. In addition to conducting research and publishing its own work, the office will provide funding and sponsorship to the enthusiastic AI research community conferences, workshops and events held in China.

Hiring Fresh Talent in China

In the month of September Google ramped up hiring of resources in China having specialized skills in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Google said in a statement the new AI research center is the first of its kind in Asia from Google and joins other Google centers for AI research in cities around the world like New York, Toronto, London and Zurich. It will comprise a small team operating out of its existing office in Beijing.

“I believe AI and its benefits have no borders. Whether a breakthrough occurs in Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, it has the potential to make everyone’s life better. As an AI first company, this is an important part of our collective mission. And we want to work with the best AI talent, wherever that talent is, to achieve it,” wrote Dr. Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist at Google Cloud, in a blog post announcing plans for the China research lab. Li, formerly the director of Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, was a high-profile arrival when she joined Google one year ago. She will lead the China-based team alongside Jia Li, who was hired from Snap where she had been head of research at the same time as Li. The China lab has already recruited some top talent and there are currently more than twenty job-openings, according to a vacancy listing. It is hiring for at least four positions involving AI or machine learning at its Beijing office, according to its website. It is also advertising roles within its locations in Shanghai and Guangzhou, Bloomberg noted. The hiring push from Google comes as Chinese firms increasingly expand their talent acquisition strategies to include the U.S., and Silicon Valley in particular, to bring onboard the finest engineers available on earth.

Google to continue exposing its AI Potential in the Chinese Market

Google’s Search Engine got blocked in China seven years ago in 2010, along with its app store, email and Google Cloud Platform services. Chinese policy makers have voiced strong support for AI research and development in the country, but have imposed increasingly strict rules on foreign firms in the past year, including new censorship restrictions. China’s cyber regulators say restrictions on foreign media and internet platforms are designed in a way to block influences that contravene stability and socialist ideas. But that doesn’t pose any hindrance to the company that now refers to itself as AI first and has taken steps in China this year to popularise open-source program TensorFlow among researchers and developers, according to Bloomberg. Even if the Chinese regulatory bodies continue to impose restrictions, it has been  Google’s strategy to expose its AI products and capabilities in the Chinese market.

Earlier this month Google CEO Sundar Pichai participated in a conference run by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top cyber regulator, where he steered clear from market access issues to discuss the potential of AI. Since AI is becoming pivotal to the future of technology with potential to impact every profession and every domain, Google will continue to maintain its presence and improve its penetration in China.

Compensation for AI and ML Jobs to Grow

Though the top global technology skillset reside in the United States, with the Chinese Government itself coming forward to prioritize Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the race is going to be interesting to watch. A state-led development plan announced this summer aims to make China the world’s AI leader by 2030. The ambitious program is aiming to build a domestic industry worth $150 billion per year, with the government prepared to invest heavily in training and development to make the vision a reality. Given the scope of that ambition, and the growing ranks of AI engineers at China’s top firms, Google is right to try its hands at the talent on offer. So far it is the first to make a major push in that area. Other U.S. firms that are blocked in the country, including Facebook and Twitter, maintain sales jobs in China.

Google is gearing up to face tough challenges for hiring the best talent in China. Besides the country’s three largest tech firms Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, prestigious $30 billion company Bytedance and fast-growing companies SenseTime and Face++, all are trying hard to bring onboard the top AI and ML engineers, analysts as well as data scientists with compensation packages growing higher and more fascinating. It’s interesting to see where the buck stops.

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