Shanghai to aim higher as AI hub looks to foster innovations to rival ChatGPT

The city has ramped up efforts to complement the entrepreneurial activity in AI with brainpower, exemplified by the establishment of several think tanks and research institutes devoted to AI.

Shanghai is going into overdrive to build a world-class industry agglomeration by making better use of its AI-focused industrial funds and building a multi-layered capital network to support the industry’s growth, a high-profile conference heard over the weekend.

Shanghai’s vice mayor Li Zheng told the Global Artificial Intelligence Developer Conference, held on February 25-26 in the city’s Lingang area, that Shanghai, as one of the earliest AI hubs nationwide, last year made strenuous efforts in core technologies, applications, ecosystem construction and talent recruitment to build a world-class AI cluster.

Li’s speech came as disruptive changes in AI, characterized by the invention of ChatGPT, swept the world, bringing the industry’s development to the next level.

Mega-sized AI models such as those adopted by ChatGPT have led a new wave of growth, creating immense room for AI developers across the globe and opportunities of the future.

Shanghai is at the forefront of this drive, as its investment in AI bore plenty of fruits last year, said Li.

The city’s tech community achieved core breakthroughs such as a batch of open-source systems, mass-produced smart chips, and a next-generation AI computing and empowerment platform put to work in the Lingang area, Li pointed out.

He added the city has ramped up efforts to complement the entrepreneurial activity in AI with brainpower, exemplified by the establishment of several think tanks and research institutes devoted to AI.

The city now boasts four AI clusters in Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, West Bund of Xuhui District, Lingang New Area and Maqiao of Minhang District.

Besides, Li listed a number of ways Shanghai has continued to build an industrial ecosystem, from devising the nation’s first provincial-level AI regulation, to setting local standards on AI, from hosting the World Artificial Intelligence Conferences for five years in a row, to gathering a third of the country’s AI talent and providing a congenial environment for them to thrive.

He added Lingang, home to Tesla’s Giga-factory, is a major cradle of Shanghai’s AI innovations.

“Faced with a new wave of AI-driven expansion, Shanghai will fully leverage the city’s comprehensive strengths, accumulate global innovative resources with greater openness, service quality and intensity,” said Li. “All this is to build Shanghai into an AI powerhouse with greater significance.”

According to him, the city will invest heavily in areas such as ChatGPT-like technologies, smart chip design and application, and broader international collaborations.

China’s AI industry is now valued at more than 500 billion yuan (US$71.75 billion), comprising around 4,000 companies that keep producing innovations in chipmaking, open-source framework and smart terminal, said Ren Aiguang, deputy director of the Department of Technology at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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