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CAEXPO: Witnesses AI-Empowered China-ASEAN Cooperation

2022-11-10 09:24:54   By:China-ASEAN    Hits:

Written by Li Min and Li Hongting / Translated by Xie Zongming

Currently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a strategic technology that’s set to lead the future, for which it has become a new focus of industry cultivation in many countries. As China-ASEAN cooperation keeps deepening, words related to AI, such as IoT, digital economy, and smart society, have become the buzzwords discussed between both sides.

As an effective public platform to promote China-ASEAN cooperation, the China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) sticks to the topic of AI development. Through holding events like the China (Guangxi)-ASEAN AI Summit (CAAIS), CAEXPO closely follows this hotspot of cooperation and seized the key development area. In 2022, at the 3rd CAAIS held during the 19th CAEXPO, the discussion on AI development participated by the experts and companies in this industry once again enlightened China-ASEAN technology cooperation.

The 3rd CAAIS

“AI+” to empower industries

After over 60 years of development, AI has had significant breakthroughs in algorithms, hash rate, and databases. AI+ model is empowering every aspect of production and life. At the 3rd CAAIS, Liu Xin, Vice President of Huawei Ascend Computing, said, “The adoption of AI technology will bring an enormous market. It will empower every industry, just like water, electricity, and coal.”

The popularization of AI is closely related to the degree of digitalization. Currently, such development in ASEAN countries is speeding up, and the dominant high-tech, telecommunications, and financial services companies have taken their steps aggressively into the AI industry. Also, promoted by the “Smart City” plans in various regions, the adoption of AI technology is increasing in ASEAN countries’ public services, such as transport and healthcare. 

Singapore pioneers AI development in ASEAN. It has considerable achievements in intelligent transport, healthcare and pension, and smart schools, which provides beneficial experience for China and other ASEAN countries. Prof. Miao Chunyan, Fellow of the Academy of Engineering of Singapore and President’s Chair Professor and Chair of the School of Computer Science and Engineering of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, said that Singapore is making steady progress in the Smart Nation 2025 plan. The NTU, along with relevant institutions like Tsinghua University, Fudan University, and Alibaba, has jointly founded an institute dedicated to technological innovation in AI.

In financial industries, Malaysia’s Hong Leong Bank adopts IBM’s Watson system which can detect customers’ emotions on the telephone through their speaking patterns and use the data to improve customer experience.

“AI+” is also changing our ways to obtain information. For example, China’s iFlytek uses AI voice technology to achieve simultaneous interpretation between various languages, and such technology was adopted during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to assist the communication of athletes and coaches from different countries. In Indonesia, the online education platform Ruangguru is trying to use its enormous academic data for customized education through machine learning. Vietnam’s agricultural start-up Sero is providing crop information for farmers through remote sensing and AI analysis.

All of the above is but a glance at AI adoption in various industries. One can see that more and more industries are having their production patterns reshaped by AI. The era of AI technology has come.

ASEAN is an option for AI cooperation

AI is the technology that analyzes, predicts, and acts based on enormous data. Data are like the raw materials for AI’s algorithm. China and ASEAN together account for 1/4 of the world’s population, signifying a considerable sample size that meets AI technology’s demand for data. In addition, China and ASEAN countries are all facing the development challenges like aging population and limited resources. AI can accurately detect, predict, and warn about the major threats to infrastructure and society, which will be effective in sustaining social stability. 

ASEAN countries’ needs for AI and their application show us an emerging market. It is foreseeable that the ASEAN start-ups related to AI technology will see prosperous development.

However, the region has yet to cultivate an adequate digital infrastructure and data ecosystem. Such experience could be obtained from China which has established a powerful digital ecosystem in a very short time. Currently, China ranks second in the number of international scientific papers published and invention patents granted in the field of AI. China pioneers voice and visual recognition technology. Technologies like intelligent surveillance and autopilot are gradually put into use. Fast technology accumulation, massive data resources, huge demands for adoption, and an open market environment have created unique advantages for China to develop AI.

McKinsey & Company predicted in its report released in 2018 that, by 2030, at least 70% of companies would adopt at least a type of AI technology. The increased AI market size would reach US$ 1,300 billion (about 9,280 billion yuan). In the past, developing AI technology might have been optional or additional. However, in terms of the present and future, it is definite.

China’s vision in developing AI is consistent with that of ASEAN countries. As China-ASEAN cooperation in multiple areas keeps deepening, the two sides will see more highlights of cooperation in the areas of Smart City, 5G AI, remote healthcare, etc.

CAEXPO is a bridge for China-ASEAN AI cooperation

With AI’s development in China and ASEAN countries, exhibits related to AI start to appear at the CAEXPO. 

From the AI robot that talks to the tourists in the Advanced Technology Exhibition to the robotic arm that can make coffee by itself and the application of AI in the Metaverse Exhibition, CAEXPO not only shows the power of China’s intelligent manufacturing but also provides a platform for domestic and overseas entrepreneurs to communicate and procure. The CAAIS, which has been held for three consecutive years, brings new highlights for China-ASEAN cooperation through the discussions and exchange on AI industry development, IoT, sharing of data, and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Visitors were queuing at the Metaverse Exhibition at the 19th CAEXPO (Photo: Li Hongting)
A robotic arm is making coffee by itself at the 19th CAEXPO (Photo: Feng Chulin)

At the 3rd CAAIS, the AI Association of China-ASEAN Information Harbor was established, and the China-ASEAN AI Computing Center and China-ASEAN AI Adapting Center were launched, further improving the exchange and cooperation in AI between China and ASEAN.

Guangxi, as the permanent venue of CAEXPO, has also seized the trend of AI development in recent years. According to Qin Rupei, Vice Chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guangxi has currently set up a series of innovation platforms, such as the China-ASEAN (Huawei) AI Innovation Center, Kunpeng Eco-Innovation Center of China-ASEAN Information Harbor, and ChinaASEAN Blockchain Innovation Center. Among them, the China-ASEAN (Huawei) AI Innovation Center provides 52 platform services like AI and Big Data. The Center has served 280 AI-related companies and started 119 projects on AI cooperation.

In addition, Guangxi built and run a group of ASEAN-oriented AI hash rate infrastructure, such as the Nanning National-Level Leading Internet Talents Direct Liaison, jointly building overseas cloud computing centers with countries like Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Guangxi also relies on international cooperation frameworks like “Two Countries, Twin Parks” between China and Malaysia to explore a model to provide data centers and factor markets for ASEAN. Meanwhile, Guangxi has expanded typical application scenarios of AI services in ASEAN, such as 

government affairs, remote healthcare, communications, disaster warning, and cross-border e-commerce. Guangxi is becoming a benchmark for China’s AI technology exporting to ASEAN countries.

It is perfect for sailing when the ocean is clear and the wind is fair. Looking back at the history of AI development, every advance could release huge value to society. It’s convincing that in the future, China and ASEAN will continue to fully utilize the platform of CAEXPO to further deepen exchanges and gain new development in AI in China and ASEAN.

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