Reports indicate that Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is building an artificial intelligence team in China despite the fact that its online search engine is still blocked on the mainland. According to online jobs listings posted by the tech giant on Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) LinkedIn, Google has been on a recruitment drive since May.
Among the positions that have been advertised are for a machine learning technology software engineer, a technical lead and research scientists. All the positions are based in Beijing. In yet another job posting which first appeared three months ago Google advertised to recruit a cloud machine learning product manager. Google’s move is likely to pile pressure on Chinese online search leader, Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU).
“Google’s recruiting creates additional pressures for [its competitors]. There’s still great benefits for a Chinese engineer going to work for a large US firm…” Mark Natkin of Marbridge Consulting, a tech research firm based in Beijing, said.
Google’s plans to bolster its artificial intelligence team in mainland China comes in the wake of the Chinese government setting out an ambitious plan in which aims to outpace the United States in AI and emerge as the global leader by 2030. By 2020 it is expected that the artificial intelligence sector will be worth approximately $23 billion. AI-related sectors will be worth many times more, according to projections by the government.
AI applications market
Similarly IDC, a research firm, has projected that the global spending on artificial and cognitive intelligence will exceed $46 billion in the next three years. This year the amount that is expected to be spent on the two sectors is $12.5 billion. In mainland China the applications market for artificial intelligence is expected to grow at a rate of 50% year-over-year. This will be higher than the global growth rate of 20% as per a report prepared by consulting firm McKinsey.
Google’s recruitment drive in China coincides with a move by the online search giant to create a division known as Google.ai which is solely dedicated to artificial intelligence. During the launch of the new business division executives of the tech firm announced several artificial intelligence initiatives including making it possible for Google Maps to detect street signs automatically as well as the adoption of machine learning to improve Google Search.