Google announces first AI center in China

Google announces first AI center in China
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Google announced on Wednesday that it will open an artificial intelligence research center in China, its first in Asia.

The center in Shanghai will join Google’s list of AI research groups across the world in cities like New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.

The company’s search engine is still censored in China, but it currently employs staff in the country to focus on international services, and will continue to build out its team to staff up the new center. Job postings on the firm's website show at least two dozen available jobs in Shanghai. The company is already hiring staff for the new center.

“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,” wrote Dr. Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist at Google Cloud, in a blog post announcing the new lab.

“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.”

Li, the former director of Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, will lead Google’s AI team in China alongside Jia Li, who previously worked at Snap, where she had served as the firm’s head of research.

Google will enter a crowded market in China, with Chinese mega-firms like Alibaba and Baidu making their own attempts to bolster AI development. Back in the U.S., Google is also fielding fierce AI competition from companies like Uber, Microsoft, Nvidia and others.