From blockchain to AI and fintech

A Chinese mobile phone user in Shanghai, China.

Qi Yang | Moment | Getty Images

China, once seen as an imitator when it came to technology, is now looking to take the lead in areas from blockchain to artificial intelligence (AI), much-hyped technologies that are seen as critical to the future.

Despite the U.S.-China trade war, experts say the world’s second largest economy will continue pushing its domestic technology sector.

The future of AI, blockchain, financial technology and smartphones will be among the topics discussed at East Tech West — CNBC’s technology conference held in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China.

Here’s a look at what China is doing in some of the key technology areas.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a broad term for technology that makes machines mimic human intelligence, for example, in recognizing images or speech.

U.S. and Chinese tech firms are pumping a lot of money into developing AI, and both countries have launched their own national strategies around it.

In 2017, Beijing laid out plans to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030, with the aim of making the industry worth 1 trillion yuan ($147.7 billion).

China has rolled out AI uses, such as facial recognition technology, on a large scale. The U.S. is seen as having the lead, however, when it comes to research and development.

“On AI, China is implementing the technology very fast in facial recognition, speed recognition, self-driving vehicles, smart cities and medical diagnoses,” Rebecca Fannin, author of “Tech Titans of China,” told CNBC.

“The US still has the lead on R&D in AI, but China is catching up with the tech titans in AI as well as numerous well-funded startups such as Face++, Sensetime and iFlytek.”

“China is closing the technological gap with the United States, and though it may not match U.S. capabilities across the board, it will soon be one of the leading powers in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI)” and other…

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