Ten Chinese angel and venture capital firms including the ZhenFund, Innovation Angel Funds and CAS Star have jointly launched an accelerator focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.
Other participating firms include Ever Venture Capital, Geek Founders, Tsinghua Digital Innovation Center and Power Cloud Venture Capital.
According to reports in Chinese media, the objective of this accelerator is to incubate potential market leaders in the AI and big data verticals. The long-term aim is to develop digital majors comparable in size to the current majors in China’s Internet services and technology ecosystems (i.e. Alibaba Group, Tencent and Baidu).
Earlier this month, DEALSTREETASIA reported that Chinese private equity firm CSC Group, state-backed with over $12 billion under management, was funding an AI incubator in the UK, following a partnership with British startup incubator Founders Factory. This is expected to see them hiring 60 people as well as invest and grow five early-stage AI startups, in addition to launching two companies in 2017.
In Q3 2015, the Robotics Business Review reported that global IT major Dell had announced plans to invest $125 billion in China over the next five years, concentrating on building greater market access and expanding research and development efforts, with a focus area being AI.
No capitalisation figures or details of the size of the alliance’s investment fund have been released, though it will support its portfolio startups by organising project roadshows, innovation competitions, innovation forums, experts speeches and entrepreneur camps.
This development comes at a time when Chinese enterprises are increasing their investment into AI, with Chinese companies positioned to be a global leader in the field, according to at least one expert.
“As early stage investors, we want to help push innovation in the artificial intelligence and big data space, as well as their applications in China,” one of the founding firms said in a statement.
With a concentration on AI, big data, virtual reality (VR), drones, robots, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and aerospace projects, this new accelerator will provide startup ventures with both human and capital resources. This comes at a time when China is undertaking a large robotics & automation push, according to MIT Technology Review.