Hefei's innovation drive eye-opener for foreign experts

Updated 2016-11-21 17:59:44 chinadaily.com.cn
A Bulgarian expert poses for a photo with artificial intelligent robots produced by iFLYTEK Co Ltd, a Hefei-based smart voice enterprise, on Nov 17, 2016. (Photo by Wang Mengzhen/chinadaily.com.cn)

A Bulgarian expert poses for a photo with artificial intelligent robots produced by iFLYTEK Co Ltd, a Hefei-based smart voice enterprise, on Nov 17, 2016. (Photo by Wang Mengzhen/chinadaily.com.cn)

The breadth and depth of scientific innovations taking place in Hefei left foreign experts surprised as they visited science institutes and high-tech enterprises in the central Chinese city from Nov 16 to 19.

Among all the innovation hubs they visited, a tour to iFLYTEK Co Ltd, a leading Chinese firm engaged in speech and voice recognition technologies, grabbed much of their attention. The company showcased how the iFLYTEK input mobile app, smart home and the intelligent vehicle system will change artificial intelligence (AI) and our lifestyle.

The latest statistics from the market resource provider Research and Markets show that iFLYTEK ranked fifth among the global intelligent voice players in 2015, just behind Nuance, Google, Microsoft and Apple. Meanwhile, the company claimed more than 70 percent share of Chinese smart voice market last year.

"We have already become a major player in the global smart voice industry, and now we are competing against advanced internet companies from America," Pan Shuai, a manager of iFLYTEK's International Business Development team, told foreign experts.

Michael Borchmann, Honorary Adviser of International Investment Promotion Agency at the Commerce Ministry of China, was one of the 15 foreign opinion makers visiting Hefei.

"I was so impressed by how far the technical development in the field of digitalization has progressed. It was really fascinating to see what they are working on," said Borchmann.

The city is home to 1,056 national-level high-tech enterprises and 959 research institutes. This includes the Institute of Advanced Technology under the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), where the well-known lifelike robot "Jiajia" was produced.

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