GBA Gives HK an AI Uplift

Hong Kong is always seen as a late starter to the artificial intelligence game, with the U.S. and China taking the lead.

While Hong Kong lacks in terms of talent, access to big data for machine learning and supportive regulations, it seems to offer substantial regional benefits to companies seeking to broaden their horizons and maximize the benefits of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative.

Shanghai Xiao-i Robot Technology Co. Ltd (Xiao-i) is one such company. The industrial AI leader is tying up with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to establish a joint lab for machine learning and cognitive reasoning.

“Xiao-i has amassed vast quantities of industry data over the years to support our development of AI technologies in areas such as deep semantic interaction and natural language processing. Now coupled with HKUST’s remarkable research capabilities, we are confident that the Joint Lab will achieve technological breakthroughs and promote wider applications of AI technology into a broad range of industries,” said Dr. Pinpin Zhu, founder and chief executive officer of Xiao-i at the launch ceremony.

“The Greater Bay Area will also provide an enabling ground as it develops into an international innovation and technology hub. We have every confidence in our ability to promote our research outputs and apply them across industries in the region, and eventually extend to Asia-Pacific and other global markets,” he added.

The effort also aims to train new talent on AI and drive collaboration for Greater Bay Area initiatives.

“The Joint Lab will also enrich our students’ knowledge on innovative technologies, laying a more solid foundation for nurturing the future talent in the areas of AI,” said professor Nancy Yuk-Yu Ip, vice-president for Research and Development of HKUST.

Key areas of research will include:

  • New theories and efficient algorithms for cognitive reasoning
  • New algorithms for interpretable word embeddings using the latent tree model
  • Scalable machine learning algorithms for learning distributed representations of text documents

More efficient end-to-end sequence-to-sequence modeling methods using deep learning and attention mechanism

Interestingly, Xiao-i delisted itself from the mainland bourse China’s National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ), and is involved in a legal dispute with Apple over intellectual property. 

Meanwhile, 5G Chinese giant Huawei is rolling out its own AI and blockchain services in Hong Kong as part of its efforts to become a GBA AI player.

At its recent event, Edward Deng, president of Huawei Cloud Global Market announced the following:

  • Enterprise intelligence (EI) full-stack AI solutions to be available in Hong Kong from the end of this monthBlockchain services to help Hong Kong leverage blockchain’s characteristics of decentralization, irreversibility, and traceability in finance and logistics
  • Three availability zones in Hong Kong to provide users with secure and scalable cloud services that are easy to deploy
  • IoT services for secure and trusted three-step global access to more than 1,000 object models
  • The Huawei Enterprise Overseas Application Store, which will open next month, featuring more than 40 Independent Software Vendors offering 250 solutions

Through these announcements, Huawei is looking to underscore the importance of collaboration for GBA.

“Our vision is to join hands with our Hong Kong customers, industry partners, and academic associations to build a smart future for this vibrant city, as well as to drive technology innovation and business development throughout the Greater Bay Area,” said Zhang Yuxin, chief technology officer, HUAWEI CLOUD.