Inside China’s Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Revolution

China has been stubbornly resistant to the cryptocurrency, however, since past few years, it has also shown interest in technological areas, especially artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. 

While China has been stubbornly resistant to the cryptocurrency fever sweeping across the globe over the past several years. Moreover, it has emerged as a formidable leader and competitor to the United States in several key technological areas, especially artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

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Made in China in 2025 (MIC 2025), a ten-year, comprehensive blueprint aimed at transforming China into an advanced manufacturing leader. It outlines the country’s strategic plan for dominance in AI.  According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, MIC 2025 appears to provide preferential access to capital to domestic companies in order to promote their indigenous research and development capabilities, support their ability to acquire technology from abroad, and enhance their overall competitiveness.

It seems to be working.  Data collated by Thomson Reuters from the World Intellectual Property Organization database. It shows that in 2017, more than half of the 406 blockchain related patent applications were from China.  Academic papers, patents, and funding all suggest China can compete favorably with the U.S. in blockchain and AI during the next decade.

In 2017, 48 percent of total equity funding of AI start-ups globally came from China, compared to 38 percent funded by the US, and 13 percent by the rest of the world.  China’s patents in the AI industry accounted for about 22 percent of the total globally, according to an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

China Blockchain Revolution

Companies to Watch, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. It has been taking a series of steps toward increased automation, with a commitment to AI, robotics, and big data, investing a remarkable 30 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) in an AI-powered retail research center.

“I hope my company would be 100% automation someday… no human beings anymore, 100% operated by AI and robots,” says Richard Liu, founder, and CEO of

Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT) with a combined market capitalization of $1 trillion are also making extraordinary gains in AI.  The Chinese science ministry announced earlier this year that the country’s open AI platforms would rely heavily on Baidu for autonomous driving, Alibaba for smart cities and Tencent for AI in healthcare. There are several other Chinese companies to watch closely in the AI sector. Moreover, some include

  • Cambricon, a semiconductor and AI chip company
  • Cloudwalk, a pioneering facial recognition, and 3D scanning technology
  • DJI, a leading drone manufacturer supporting AI and image analysis
  • SenseTime, an image recognition tech company
  • Ubtech Robotics, a promising robot development company

Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Revolution

The Belt and Road Initiative

Also, the Belt and Road Initiative is also known as One Belt One Road. It is a 900 billion dollar project promoting cooperation, interconnectivity, and openness across continents. The initiative aims to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investment links between China. Approximately 65 other countries that account collectively for over 30 percent of global GDP, 62 percent of the population, and 75 percent of known energy reserves.

Enter the MATRIX AI Network

“The One Belt One Road is a perfect match for blockchain technology.,” explains Owen Tao, CEO of MATRIX AI Network, a global open-source, public, intelligent blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system that combines artificial intelligence and blockchain which recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the state-owned Belt and Road Development Centre, to become the only blockchain partner of the center.

“Negotiations are ongoing with project teams of various national governments, local governments, and international businesses. Early applications being worked on include blockchain-based credit systems, blockchain-based logistics and tracking systems, and cross-country financial clearing systems,” explains Tao.

In the partnership, MATRIX AI Network will assist with training and consultation in both AI and blockchain fields and act as the primary application platform in both fields for the center. Additionally, all OBOR contracts that go through the center relating to blockchain will go through MATRIX AI Network.

China’s Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Revolution

Meanwhile, in May 2018, MATRIX AI Network announced its second partnership related to OBOR. This time it is with International Digital Asset Company (IDA). IDA is an asset digitization and tracking company that primarily focuses on OBOR ventures. As of today, IDA holds approximately 3 billion USD worth of assets in the form of natural resources.

The partnership between IDA and MATRIX allows these resources to be further digitized using the MATRIX blockchain. In the end, this will allow assets to track and transfer such value quicker and easier. IDA will also be among one of the first DApps to launch on the MATRIX blockchain.

A Bright Future

According to a recent Quartz article, approximately 50 Chinese state-owned companies have invested in nearly 1,700 OBOR projects since 2013, with projects including a $46 billion China-Pakistan corridor, a 3,000km high-speed railway connecting China and Singapore, and gas pipelines across central Asia.

China is aggressively positioning itself as the central hub of an interconnected Central and South Asia, Gulf, North Africa and developing Europe economic alliance that can challenge the hegemony of the United States Western Europe.

The growth of AI and blockchain technologies, with Chinese government support, increased private investment. Moreover, a wealth of human capital  expects to lead to great advancements in the following sectors

  • Healthcare,
  • Autonomous driving,
  • Logistics,
  • Supply chain management,
  • Urban planning,
  • Retail commerce and many more in the next decade

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David Kariuki is a journalist who has a wide range of experience reporting about modern technology solutions including cryptocurrencies. A graduate of Kenya's Moi University, he also writes for Hypergrid Business, Cryptomorrow, and Cleanleap, and has previously worked for Resources Quarterly and Construction Review magazines.

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