Baidu Plans to Increase Investment in New Infrastructure to Support the Rise of Industrial AI

Baidu, Inc. recently revealed plans to increase investments in the next decade to contribute toward constructing “new infrastructure” for the smart economy of the future. 

The company aims to have 5 million intelligent cloud servers by 2030 and train 5 million AI professionals within 5 years. It has been working with over 200 top universities in China to develop AI-related courses and deep learning, and has trained over 1 million AI experts.  

“As a world-leading AI platform company, Baidu is well positioned to make large contributions to development of new infrastructure in China,” says Baidu Chief Technology Officer Haifeng Wang. 

Baidu experienced a 12.5% increase in shares in June due to internal improvements, and already has more than 7000 published AI patent applications in China. The AI open platform Baidu Brain has made more than 250 core AI capabilities available to over 1.9 million developers, and Baidu’s Kunlun and Honghu AI chips are among the highest performing AI chips. 

Baidu is already on track to achieving its goal of revolutionizing industries with new infrastructure. The company’s smart finance products serve nearly 200 financial institutions, and its intelligent healthcare products are deployed at more than 300 hospitals. Baidu Brain for Cities is facilitating intelligent city management. Other industries which Baidu’s new investments may impact positively include manufacturing, energy, and transportation. 

However, June has been a tough month for Baidu in terms of international relations. Amid strains in China’s ties with the United States, the company has left the ‘Partnership on AI,’ a U.S.-led project tackling ethical challenges posed by artificial intelligence, citing financial reasons. 

In the wake of tension and clashes on a disputed border between China and India, Baidu Maps and Baidu Translate were among the applications banned by Indian intelligence authorities to “ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”

Regardless of these setbacks, Baidu plans on assisting China’s growth to pick up momentum after the economic slump during the pandemic. 

“New infrastructure–which encompasses emerging technologies like AI, cloud computing, 5G, IoT, and blockchain–will be the driver for China’s economic development in the coming decades,” says Wang. 

Photo by Max Langelott on Unsplash

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