The US-instigated technology war with China has forced homegrown
artificial intelligence (AI) firms to focus more on core technological
innovation, the founder and chairman of iFlyTek said on Friday, noting
that the top Chinese voice recognition firm, underpinned by its
indigenous prowess, has largely been unaffected by US blacklisting.
a passionate speech at iFlyTek’s global developers conference, held at
its headquarters in Hefei, East China’s Anhui Province, iFlyTek chairman
Liu Qingfeng said that AI is technology-driven and the whole society is
paying greater heed to the basic rules of scientific research and core
capacities of homemade products, a matter of critical importance for the
future of AI in China.
The nation’s unique advantages in
identifying AI application scenarios, and its urgent demands to address
the weak links concerning people’s livelihood such as education and
healthcare provide unprecedented opportunities for the rise of AI, Liu
He also cited the coronavirus pandemic that has prompted
more people to embrace an era of digital-enabled survival, enhanced
legal protection for user privacy and data security, as well as capital
market deregulation that has funneled massive funds into original
“Without AI applications, it would
be impossible for us to maintain regular epidemic prevention and
control, and production resumption, innovation and entrepreneurship on a
regular basis,” Liu commented.
The voice recognition major was
among some of the nation’s top AI firms that were added to the US entity
list in October 2019. The expanded list included leaders in facial
recognition technology - Megvii, SenseTime and YITU - and video
surveillance gear maker Hikvision.
iFlyTek’s core technologies
are all its proprietary intellectual properties and therefore the
blacklisting hasn’t had much of an impact on the firm, Liu told
reporters on the sidelines of the event.
communications modules are used in some of iFlyTek’s translation devices
and a portion of its vehicle mounted-products use US chips, the Chinese
AI firm has stockpiled related components in advance, as the US
crackdown on Huawei has domestic high-tech firms staying vigilant. As a
result, iFlyTek has delivered a virtuous earnings growth since last
year, he went on to say.
Shares of the Shenzhen-listed firm edged up 0.03 percent, while the Shenzhen Component Index shed 2 percent.
the addition to the US entity list as an excuse trumped up for a
clampdown on Chinese businesses eyeing overseas expansion, the founder
of iFlyTek stressed that Chinese firms’ globalized push would, however,
Regardless, the firm has fully researched the US
legal system and has complied with the US legal framework to avoid
greater disputes, according to Liu.
In response to Global Times’
queries on the firm’s R&D spending, Liu said the firm’s R&D
investment accounts for roughly 20 percent of its sales revenue per
annum, and such momentum is set to continue while the R&D
commitments will further focus on core innovations for key strategic and
core technologies to be entirely self-made and much more advanced than
its global peers.
The Chinese leader in voice recognition
technology pledges to open cutting-edge smart speech and AI core
technologies to developers from across the globe, as it is eyeing the
creation of an ecosystem.
iFlyTek’s global developer population
hit 1.57 million as of October, up from 1.08 million in the same month
of last year. The number of applications having been developed also rose
to 930,000 from 700,000 over the past year, Liu revealed.
firm’s open platform for mobile internet and intelligent device
developers has been updated this year to feature the recognition and
synthesis of over 10 languages, according to Hu Guoping, senior vice
president of iFlyTek.
Results of an AI developers competition
launched by iFlyTek that has attracted the participation of over 9,000
teams were also unveiled Friday.
Among the winning participants
are Beijing Alpha Technology, an upstart firm with expertise in
AI-powered headhunting, which won third place in the contest for AI
China now attaches more importance to talent
development than other countries or regions, and the frequency of
changing jobs in China is higher than that in overseas markets, boding
well for algorithm iterations at a faster pace, Jiang Miao, general
manager of Beijing Alpha Technology, told the Global Times on Friday.