Half of the top 10 employers of AI talent in China are American

Piece by piece.
Piece by piece.
Image: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
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China aims to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. If it succeeds, it will be in no small part thanks to the expertise developed by US firms operating in China.

Of China’s top 10 employers in AI, half are American, according to a report (link in Chinese) by LinkedIn’s China team. The researchers counted positions in AI fields including deep learning, voice recognition, and natural-language processing.

Among the top US firms in China hiring AI talent are IBM, Intel, and Microsoft (the parent of LinkedIn). Many Chinese AI professionals have honed their skills at the local branches of such companies. Among China’s top employers in the field are smartphone maker Huawei, search firm Baidu, and e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In March, Baidu promoted Qi Lu, an AI expert who worked at Microsoft, to become its head of AI. Qi replaced Andrew Ng, a Silicon Valley veteran. As Baidu develops its offerings in facial recognition and driverless cars, it knows that US firms nurtured much of its most important AI expertise.

According to the report, China has about 50,000 AI positions. That lags far behind the US, which has about 800,000 more.