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Deep Dive into China’s Next AI Growth Innovation

Report by South China Morning Post shows China’s computer vision industry gearing up to diversify following surveillance market saturation; includes forecast of new growth verticals and head-to-head comparisons against other markets.

Computer vision (CV) — the field of computer science focused on enabling computers to visually identify and process objects in digital images or videos — dominates China AI with a 50 percent market share and currently leads the world in terms of funding with USD 4.5 billion raised from venture capital from 2016 to 2018.

The South China Morning Post announced the release of its inaugural Computer Vision Report in December 2020, a definitive artificial intelligence industry deep dive that offers a comprehensive resource on the latest trends and future trajectory of China’s largest AI sector.

Despite being at the forefront of commercialization and development in China, CV’s application in the security and surveillance sector has become saturated. In addition to the impact of the US-China tech war, this has prompted the drive to discover new domestic alternatives and the next CV growth engine. The report provides insights, essential investment theses, and future market analysis of this surveillance-dependent sector, including exclusive in-depth case studies across five key verticals, an overview of deployment and market development, comprehensive ecosystem maps of more than 160 CV companies in China, and head-to-head comparisons with comprehensive metrics for global investment professionals and companies looking to adopt CV.

A selection of the report’s key findings included the increasingly saturated surveillance applications in government projects has prompted the CV industry to search for growth in other use cases. Potential opportunities highlighted in the report include; security, healthcare, finance, and retail and marketing.

The report also sheds light that despite the previous high growth of its CV market, China has yet to take the lead in CV, currently lagging behind the US in key areas, including hardware, talent and patents. Contrary to some people’s belief, privacy concerns over facial recognition are growing in China. Besides, China’s CV industry still needs to work on reducing its reliance on underlying algorithms from the US, convincing its best and brightest to develop their ideas at home, and overcoming its dependence on manually-labelled data.

“Having survived the US-China technological rivalry in 2019, Computer Vision unicorns in China face major challenges with an increasingly saturated market for surveillance applications.” Said South China Morning Post’s Technology Editor John Artman.

“Searching for the next growth engine after security is a top priority for major CV companies in China and how they adapt will determine the evolution of the AI sector.” He added.

The report is part of the South China Morning Post Research’s China AI Deep-Dive Series, targeted at professionals monitoring the development and commercialization of computer vision technologies in China, such as investors, technology companies, corporate executives, service providers, and academics. [APBN]