AI cre­ates abun­dant jobs in Zhe­jiang

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

HANGZHOU — In one Chi­nese prov­ince, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence ap­pears to be cre­at­ing abun­dant jobs for hu­mans, in­stead of steal­ing them — but only for those in the know. A se­nior of­fi­cial in Zhe­jiang prov­ince, home to Alibaba, said on Mon­day that the prov­ince aims to hire more than 110,000 AI pro­fes­sion­als in the next five years.

Among them will be 50 world-lead­ing ex­perts, 500 sci­en­tific en­trepreneurs, and 1,000 devel­op­ment and re­search per­son­nel, said Yao Zhi­wen, deputy head of the or­ga­ni­za­tion de­part­ment of the Zhe­jiang Pro­vin­cial Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China.

He said the govern­ment would pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port for en­trepreneurs in AI and en­cour­age uni­ver­si­ties to en­roll more graduate stu­dents in re­lated sub­jects.

Zhe­jiang will set up a 1 bil­lion yuan ($147 mil­lion) devel­op­ment fund and a 50 mil­lion yuan investment fund to sup­port AI pro­fes­sion­als and star­tups, he said.

China is in the midst of an AI boom, with gov­ern­ments, re­search in­sti­tutes, tech firms and en­trepreneurs rac­ing to be in­volved, as they bet on the new dis­ci­pline tak­ing the lead in eco­nomic growth and so­cial devel­op­ment.

Alibaba, Ten­cent and Baidu — the top three Chi­nese tech com­pa­nies — are all in­vest­ing heav­ily in AI re­search.

AI pro­fes­sion­als are sought af­ter across the coun­try, but no other lo­cal govern­ment has set such am­bi­tious goals or of­fered such lu­cra­tive in­cen­tives.

The of­fi­cial was speak­ing at a global AI fo­rum themed “The Fu­ture is Now”, in Hangzhou on Mon­day.

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