ABI Research: USA reclaims the top spot from China for AI investments

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A year after China overtook the USA as the number one country for AI investments, the Americans have reclaimed pole position.

According to figures published by ABI Research, the United States received 52.3 percent of global AI investments in 2018.

In 2018, investments in US-based AI technologies reached a total of $9.7 billion. This represents a staggering 120 percent year-on-year growth.

Huge AI investments from companies such as Zoox, Cruise Automation, Zymergen, and Dataminr helped to propel the US back into the number one spot.

The gap between the US and China is only expected to increase based on investment figures this year. ABI Research expects the US to reach a 70 percent share of global AI investments.

Lian Jye Su, Principal Analyst at ABI Research, said: 

“The United States is reaping the rewards from its diversified AI investment strategy. 

Top AI startups in the United States come from various sectors, including self-driving cars, industrial manufacturing, robotics process automation, data analytics, and cybersecurity.

All these startups research on and invest in cutting edge deep learning technologies in their solutions, democratising AI for enterprises and end consumers.”

China also continues to see healthy growth in its AI sector. Year-on-year it’s grown 54 percent to reach a total of $7.4 billion.

Beijing itself has doubled-down on its ambitions to be a world leader in AI. The country’s rollout of the largest commercially-available 5G network in the world today will help to support this endeavour.

China has many established AI leaders, such as SenseTime and CloudWalk. The former is the world’s most funded AI startup and has a valuation of more than $4.5 billion, in part due to its provision of surveillance services to Beijing.

SenseTime’s Viper system aims to process and analyse over 100,000 simultaneous real-time streams from traffic cameras, ATMs, and more to automatically tag and keep track of individuals.

ABI Research predicts China will continue to witness growth but will suffer from “strong headwinds” due to the ongoing trade war with the US. The researchers believe attempts by the Americans to reduce Chinese firms’ access to US tech has slowed AI advancements in China.

“There is no doubt that Chinese AI investment is feeling the pinch of reality, but China is still undeniably the largest single market for AI implementation,” comments Su.

“Favourable policies and flexible regulations in China, backed by a government willing to invest and deploy innovative technologies at scale, will certainly amplify AI adoption in the region.”

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