Report ranks top cities for artificial intelligence innovation in China

July 8, 2020
Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing are among the top 10 cities for Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation in China, according to a new report by the University of Sydney Business School.

The Intelligent Cities Index China provides business leaders, innovators, and investors an overview of the AI landscape in China and identifies hot spots of activity. Six of the top ten cities are located in the East Coast Region of China.

The report measures the capacity and engagement of Chinese cities with AI. It is based on twelve indicators across four broad areas: enterprise activity, research proficiency, infrastructure readiness and government engagement.

Lead author and Professor of Information Technology and Organisation, Kai Riemer, said: “Global private investments in AI technology have been soaring over recent years. China-based companies attracted over a third of private equity investment in 2017.

“China has an edge over other countries, with AI being a national priority since 2015. China is also assumed to have a more open data environment, which fuels the growth of its tech sector. Businesses like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are now among the biggest firms in the world.”

The Index is the result of meta-analyses, built from a range of publicly accessible data sources and existing research. The data is aggregated, with enterprise activity weighted more heavily then government engagement.

According to the inaugural index, Beijing ranked first at 90 out of a possible 100, followed by Shanghai at 53 and the city of Nanjing at 40.

Co-author on the report, Dr Sandra Peter, said it was no surprise to see Nanjing, the capital city of China’s Jiangsu province, so high on the index relative to other cities like Hangzhou that are more populated but score lower on the index.

“Nanjing ranked first in the government ranking due to its endeavours to become a hub of innovation, opening up the Yangtze River economic belt,” said Dr Peter, Director of Sydney Business Insights.

“The city offers numerous tax breaks and incentives for R&D and start-ups. It has already built a number of public service platforms for AI. Nanjing also benefits from a strong performance in AI research of its Universities.”

The full report is available at:


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