Asian Businesses Are Winning In The AI Race
While global tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google typically come to mind when we think about leaders in AI, new research from Forrester finds that Asian businesses are not lagging behind these global firms, and are taking AI beyond tech to reinvent themselves, their industries — and the global economy.
There is a sense of urgency in Asia to capitalize on AI, not only to compete but to lead globally. Government-backed AI is fueling innovation in existing tech firms, startups, and academic communities. The South Korean government announced $1 billion in AI funding in 2017, while Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has encouraged AI startups and venture capital infusion. The national research foundation of Singapore’s government announced a national AI plan, AI.SG, to boost the country’s AI capabilities. Chinese investment from both government and corporate sectors is global, causing the US to consider restrictions on these investments.
Some key findings from the report on how Asian companies are seeking disruption in AI:
• AI investment and adoption. Led by China (from 31% to 61%) and India (from 29% to 69%), investment and adoption jumped significantly between 2016 and 2017, with Japan, Singapore, and South Korea following closely by expanding their existing technology industry strength in robotics electronics to compete against companies like Intel and NVIDIA.
• Strategic disruption of AI strategy. What stands out among Asian enterprises is the heavy focus on strategic, longer-term objectives and high outcomes compared with other regions and global enterprises. These firms prioritize industry disruption and new product development higher than other regions and global enterprises. Internal investments are driven by the marketing, sales, and customer support areas that are developing cognitive products and engaging with customers through intelligent agents.
• AI as a technology disruptor. Asian enterprises see AI as a complete disruptive force across technology, industry, product, go-to-market, academic, and economic dimensions. Rather than develop incremental technologies, companies like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent are as active in self-driving car tech as Google is in the US, even to the point of pushing the boundaries of Chinese regulations while still testing their technology. Universities are research resources for companies like Huawei, which recently invested $1 million with UC Berkley for AI R&D. Indian systems integrators are also actively participating in AI consortiums such as OpenAI.