China Steams Ahead of the US in the AI Patent Race

China has surged ahead in the Gen AI landscape
The People’s Republic of China filed more than 38,210 AI patents between 2014-2023, outpacing the innovation of countries such as the US, Japan and India

China has surged ahead in the generative AI (Gen AI) landscape, filing over 38,210 AI patents between 2014 and 2023. 

This places it ahead of other nations focused on digital transformation, such as the US (6,276), South Korea (4,155), Japan (3,409) and India (1,350), according to a recent report by Reuters.

“The sharp rise in patenting activity reflects the recent technological advances and the potential within Gen AI,” the UN report explains.

In recent years, China has been committed to innovating the next generation of Gen AI, powering ahead with powerful innovations across several key industries, including supply chain, manufacturing and electric vehicles (EV). Now, it aims to continue surging ahead with its innovation, further committing itself to a transformative AI market.

Gen AI continues to transform industry in China

Gen AI, which generates text, images and computer code, has seen a rapid rise in popularity across multiple business sectors in recent months. As a result, organisations worldwide are eager to develop their own Gen AI technology, inspired by models like OpenAI's ChatGPT and Anthropic's Claude.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), more than 50,000 Gen AI patent applications have been filed in the past decade, with a quarter of these in 2023 alone. Chatbots in particular, a prominent application of Gen AI, are transforming sectors by enhancing workplace productivity and customer service.

As Gen AI technology evolves, businesses globally are developing policies and strategies to harness its potential responsibly. If used responsibly, the technology could revolutionise company operations and be integrated effectively within global workforces.

Top patent applicants currently in China include TikTok owner ByteDance, Tencent, Ping An Insurance Group and Baidu

The continued impact of the AI revolution

China's AI market continues to thrive despite US-imposed restrictions on AI chips. The country supports its businesses and prioritises AI investments, aiming to be a global AI leader by 2030. Forecasts suggest that China's AI market will triple from US$23.196bn in 2021 to approximately US$61.85bn by 2025.

Significantly, the country has successfully managed to keep its AI momentum going, having introduced world-first regulations into AI technology in areas such as deepfakes and generative models. Likewise, the country’s interim measures on Gen AI in 2023 stated that AI technology must adhere to the “core socialist values of China” and should not endanger national security.

Initiatives like Made in China 2025 and the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (2017) illustrate China's commitment to AI sector growth, enterprise innovation and AI governance.

Quoted in our sister publication AI Magazine on the subject, Baidu co-founder, chairman and CEO of Baidu, Robin Li, said: “We believe that artificial intelligence will revolutionise every industry we know today. The immense long-term value of AI and its transformative impact on all aspects of life are only in their infancy.”

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