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Chinese startups take lion’s share as venture capital investment in AI grows 150 percent

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Chinese startups take lion’s share as venture capital investment in AI grows 150 percent

Chinese AI startups overtook their U.S. counterparts in new venture capital funding in 2017, raising nearly $5 billion according to ABI Research. Overall investment in AI startups increased by 150 percent, from $4 billion to $10.7 billion in 2017.

The $4.4 billion raised by U.S. companies was divided between 155 investments, while the $4.9 billion that went to Chinese companies were from only 19 investments. This indicates a preference for mature AI applications with commercial viability and successful use cases among investors in Chinese companies, ABI Research’s AI Investment Monitor 2017 says.

The bullish sentiment shared among Chinese investors is a clear sign that China is going all-in in artificial intelligence (AI). The government of China is setting clear policy guidelines for the future development of AI and startups are responding with cutting edge AI technologies across many industries,” said Lian Jye Su, a Principal Analyst at ABI Research.

AI investments in Europe appear to reflect long-term strategic objectives, with startups in diversified areas of different industries and verticals, according to the announcement. In the U.S. the approach is balanced between investments in immediate commercial opportunities and long-term transformative technologies.

“While 2017 was a roaring success for Chinese startups, the real fruits and impact will be felt in 2018 and beyond. Already we are seeing a few startups launching new products, venturing into new business, or being acquired in 2018,” says Su.

The investment trend noted by ABI in 2017 is continuing in 2018, with SenseTime and Megvii reportedly raising nearly $1.6 billion combined this year.

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