Domestic companies playing bigger global role: experts
Chinese companies will display a number of products backed by high technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the US from Tuesday to Friday (U.S. time).
The Global Times saw that although the stands at the show are still being arranged currently, the Chinese presence at CES will be significant, from the giant advertisement for Huawei's Mate 10 smartphone at the entrance of the pavilion, to the media conference hosted by Baidu Inc, at which there were no empty seats.
According to media reports, of the 4,500 companies and organizations that will attend this year's CES, about one-third are from China, mostly from Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province.
Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent analyst, said that China's high-tech companies are now participating more actively in globally renowned trade shows like CES and Mobile World Congress.
"It's not only big tech companies from China that attend these shows - small and medium-sized domestic firms are also participating, which shows that China's high-tech companies are playing an increasingly important role on the global stage," he told the Global Times on Tuesday.
CES, an annual gathering of consumer technology companies from around the world, is seen as a proving ground for breakthrough technologies, according to the official website for the event.
AI from China
At the show, many products backed by Made-in-China AI technologies will be displayed. For example, domestic internet giant Baidu will display a number of products, including 10 autonomous cars, a new version of the Apollo autonomous driving platform and several hardware products (including a smart video speaker and a smart ceiling lamp) powered by its latest conversational AI system, according to a statement Baidu sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.
Voice recognition services provider iFlytek has also brought several high-tech products to the show, including several electronic translators, an AI-powered infotainment system designed for drivers of intelligent vehicles, and a smart microphone.
Face , a Beijing-based tech firm specializing in facial and body recognition technologies, said that it would display a 2D & 3D face unlock application along with other products at CES.
Good prospects, despite challenges
Experts the Global Times talked to on Tuesday showed optimism about the prospects for China's high-tech industries.
"China has the largest market for various consumer electronic products, such as smartphones. Coupled with this, the technologies behind these cutting-edge products have been developing with amazing speed in China," a Chinese AI scientist who works at a U.S. internet company told the Global Times Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
He also said that in some industries like mobile payment, Chinese companies are already among the global leaders.
"I believe it won't be long before Chinese companies start exporting cutting-edge technologies, just like overseas tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft," he said.
According to a report from sohu.com on Tuesday, 137 AI companies in China received financing of more than 40 billion yuan (.14 billion) in total in 2017.
Liu, the analyst, said that while Western tech companies may still have the advantage in some core technologies, Chinese companies are better at applying technology for people's daily lives such as for online shopping, and this is because of policy support from the government as well as China's large consumer market.
Liu also noted that some technologies developed by Chinese companies already rival technologies owned by overseas tech giants, such as voice recognition.
But some challenges still remain, such as how these new technologies can be put into production.
"In terms of self-driving technologies, since Google started its self-driving car project in 2009, the estimated launch timeline for this revolutionary product has been postponed many times," the AI scientist pointed out.
"Even today, with a large amount of investment and research efforts from tech companies all around the world, no one can make a confident prediction about when people will no longer need to sit behind the wheel of a car," he said.
Liu said that traditional companies' reluctance to let new technologies take space in the market might also pose a problem for Chinese tech firms. "For example, traditional car companies might be afraid that smart cars will take over their market, and will be reluctant to embrace the new technologies."