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Editors' picks from ETO Scout: volume 11 (4/12/24-5/9/24)

A computer chip viewed through a circular lens.


Farming robots, synthetic video, Nvidia salesmen and Chinese photolithography - plus, a CSET expert take on China's chip subsidies

Scout is ETO's discovery tool for Chinese-language news and commentary on technology issues. See the latest editors’ picks, browse the feed by topic, or sign up for customized e-mail alerts at 🔭

  • A state media report explains that China's agricultural machinery industry lags behind the global cutting edge, but aims to catch up. (S&T Daily, 05/04/24)
  • Shengshu Technology and Tsinghua University's new Vidu model generates high-resolution video reportedly on par with OpenAI Sora. (36kr, 04/28/24)
  • A preliminary draft of China’s proposed AI Law that has circulated among legal scholars. (CSET curation, 03/16/24)
  • Chinese large language models outperformed Llama 3 in Tsinghua's SuperBench evaluation, potentially indicating that China's AI development is catching up to foreign companies. (AI Tech Talk, 04/26/24)
  • Large foreign semiconductor producers and buyers are moving operations from China to Southeast Asia in response to U.S. export controls. (36kr, 04/23/24)
  • China's first photolithography machine designed for advanced chip packaging was unveiled at an industry event in Guangdong. (EE Times China, 04/22/24)
CSET Expert View

Each week, a CSET expert offers insight into recent news from Scout. Today's viewpoint is from CSET Senior Research Analyst Ngor Luong.

"To achieve the goals set out in its 2017 New Generation AI Development Plan, China's leadership aims to cultivate leading AI companies. Notably, in announcing its latest round of AI company statistics (“Ministry of Industry and Information Technology: The number of artificial intelligence companies in China exceeds 4,500,"" 4/19/24”), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) noted that it is critical for China to overcome core technology bottlenecks such as smart chips, large model algorithms, and computing power to help AI firms innovate. It’s clear that the Chinese government recognizes how chips and computing power are essential to AI development. But although the government has channeled capital to the semiconductor industry through state-backed funding vehicles like the Big Fund, China's semiconductor industry still faces hurdles. Another recent commentary (“10,000 chip companies ‘die’ in 2023,"4/18/24" ) noted that domestic chip companies come and go quickly as they struggle to cultivate high-quality talent and innovate after government financial support dries out. Reporting like this highlights the need to assess the quality, not just quantity, of tech companies in China."

  • Meta's brand-new Llama 3 LLM is already available on Alibaba Cloud, which is offering free training, deployment, and inference for a limited time. (Leiphone, 04/22/24)
  • A scholarly commentary raises candid concerns about China's ability to participate in and benefit from international scientific and technological cooperation and proposes policy solutions. (Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 04/19/24)
  • A thoroughly reported account of boom-and-bust dynamics in China's semiconductor industry, with many companies disappearing even as new ones emerge. (36kr, 04/18/24)
  • Kunlun Tech announced the launch of its 400 billion parameter "Tiangong 3.0" open-source mixture-of-experts LLM and "Tiangong SkyMusic" music-generating LLM, which is claimed to set a new state of the art. (Leiphone, 04/17/24)
  • Chinese tech company Kunlun released an impressive open-source multimodal LLM and China's first publicly available large-scale AI music generation model. (Zhidx, 04/17/24)
  • China dominates the global battery industry, but its firms have been relatively slow to adopt AI for battery R&D, raising concerns about sustaining their advantage over time. (Caijing, 04/11/24)
  • Gauth, an AI education and tutoring app from Chinese company ByteDance, is growing increasingly popular overseas, particularly in the US and UK. (36kr, 04/11/24)
  • Chinese automakers are buying chips from NVIDIA while foreign automakers Toyota and Audi partner with Huawei to build intelligent assisted driving systems. (36kr, 04/11/24)
  • China announced a pilot program to remove foreign investment limits in parts of the telecom, data processing, and computing industries. (S&T Daily, 04/10/24)
  • China's temporally and geographically imbalanced energy supply poses challenges amidst rising demand for electricity to fuel AI computing. (Tencent Research Institute, 04/10/24)
  • A detailed profile of "Ah Cheng," a Chinese chip reseller specializing in Nvidia products, and how U.S. export bans are shaping his business. (Caijing, 04/07/24)
  • Overview of a government-run open-source S&T intelligence provider in Shenzhen, a tech hub in southern China. (CSET curation, 04/01/24)
  • A Chinese standard for generative AI establishes specific oversight processes that Chinese AI companies must adopt in regard to their model training data, model-generated content, and more. (CSET curation, 02/29/24)
  • A Chinese industrial policy directive aims to speed up the process of getting manufacturing prototypes into commercial production, stressing testing and metrology. (CSET curation, 01/23/24)
  • An NGO report tracks environmental impacts of Chinese ICT development, citing estimates of datacenter racks per Chinese province. (CSET curation, 05/28/21)
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