Is China Betting on AI and Big Data? The Development of 27 Big Data Industrial Parks
China’s leading research institute, the Chungkang Industrial Research Institute, released a report in December of 2017 titled “The Chinese Dynamic Manufacturing Industry Orientation Big Data Position Research Report”. From the report, it is apparent that big data research is being performed extensively in China. Let’s explore the current state of big data research in China.
The Eight Testing Areas
The first big data industrial park began construction in September 2015 at the Guizhou Qing Dynasty Nationwide Majority Comprehensive Test Zone. This was followed by the announcement of two Test Zones at Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (Beijing, Tianjin, North China Province) and the Pearl River Delta, four Test Zones in the districts of Shanghai, Henan, Chongqing and Shenyang as well as a data base foundation among others. The construction and development of the Test Zones was also announced, from which it is apparent that China has decided to erect eight Test Zones evenly throughout its eastern, central, western, and northeastern regions to develop its big data industry.
Let’s take a look at some of these Test Zones..
The Shanghai Testing Area
Nanjing Pukou District’s “Big Data Industrial Park”
This big industrial park is one of the three Test Zones in the Shanghai region. Its 100,000 square meter lot and 200,000 square meter research facility has attracted more than 50 big data companies with 5000 employees and sales on the scale of 2 billion Yuan (about 0.4 billion SGD). The total amount invested in the park was also 2 billion Yuan.
By consolidating the data centers of each company in same area, they are trying to create a new basic foundation within the big data industry to become a central force for future industry development. China is advocating the use of “integrated facilities” to develop information for AI, online business, environmental protection industries, health industries and so on.
The Three Categories of Test Zone Companies
(1) Companies that handle big data themselves such as Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, JD, Suning etc.
(2) Companies that do not handle but use the data such as social media management companies etc.
(3) Venture companies that are responsible for the innovation of the big data industry itself.
The Wide Area Test Zone of the Pearl River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei
Southeast China’s (Fukien) Big Data Industrial Park
This industrial park is located in the Pearl River Delta and is a wide area Test Zone that has attracted 122 companies. It stands at 101,900 square meters with a 96,000 square meter research facility. The total amount invested in the park was 100 thousand Yuan (about 20 thousand SGD).
The park is used as a national health and medical big data center and aims to become an international “new life modeling” data center specializing in medical care.
Alibaba’s Big Data Center in Zhangbei County, Hebei
This big data center is located in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area. With a total size of 420,000 square meters, it is divided into two park zones with a 130,000 square meter research facility. The total amount invested in the park was 20 billion Yuan (about 4 billion SGD).
It consists of 300,000 pieces of equipment and provides cloud computing, big data analysis and AI service to 2 million small and medium enterprises.
A Huge Investment
There are 27 big data centers in the eight test zones across China. Each center has its own unique features and competes with the other zones to attract investment companies. In Guizhou Province, which was one of the nation’s poorest provinces, the establishment of the data center has become a prime factor in its economic development.
China put forth four national accreditations regarding the AI project in November and is also investing huge amounts into big data research.
It seems better to consider them as completely different entities from the central state-owned enterprises that are accumulating debt such as the runaway locomotives.
It goes without saying that a much higher result is anticipated through investing in big data than through investments into things like the military and the so called “one road” state-owned central enterprise relief projects. In other words, we should be paying more attention to big data than the military or “one-road” projects when it comes to China.