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Singapore's no exception: AI research collaboration around the Pacific

Buildings in Singapore.


How nearby countries collaborate with China and the U.S. on AI research.

Our Datapoints series brings you quick insights from ETO's data-driven tools and visualizations. Read more posts in the series.

In our last post, we used ETO's Country Activity Tracker to track rapidly rising AI research collaboration between Singaporean and Chinese authors, which seemed consistent with available "anecdata" suggesting especially strong AI ties between the two countries. Is this rapid rise unique to Singapore, or are other countries also expanding collaboration with China? To probe a bit more, let's go back to the Country Activity Tracker.

CAT's interface makes it easy to add more countries to our analysis of cross-border research collaboration. In addition to Singapore and China, we'll look at a few nearby countries with active AI sectors: South Korea, Australia, and Japan, as well as the island of Taiwan, which CAT tracks separately from mainland China. CAT displays custom collaboration graphs for each country:

Screen capture of the Country Activity Tracker tool. The user scrolls across graphs showing different countries' AI research collaboration trends.

Below, we've taken data from these graphs on each country's AI research collaborations with China and the United States. Perhaps surprisingly, Singapore isn't much of an exception. In fact, between 2016 and 2021, AI research collaboration with China grew faster in South Korea, Australia, and Taiwan, and only slightly slower in Japan. Across the board, joint AI research with Chinese collaborators grew faster than joint AI research with American collaborators, often by wide margins.

Notably, though, Singapore was the only country to start and end this period with more joint AI research with China, perhaps suggesting deeper AI ties between the two countries. In Taiwan and South Korea, on the other hand, the U.S. began and remained ahead. Finally, as of 2016, Australia and Japan each had more AI research collaborations with the U.S. than with China, but by 2021, China had overtaken the U.S.

To extend or modify our analysis, just open it up in CAT - try adding different countries, focusing on particular subfields of AI research, or seeing how trends vary across different metrics of AI activity. (For example: do cross-border investments follow the same trend as cross-border AI research?) If you're new to CAT, you may want to check out the documentation first, or contact us for one-on-one support.

Happy tinkering!