Biz / Tech

AI investments boom for Minhang District

Zhu Shenshen
The Maqiao industrial park has announced the forthcoming launch of 50 projects related to artificial intelligence worth a total of over 13 billion yuan.
Zhu Shenshen

The Maqiao industrial park in Minhang District is to be home to around 50 artificial intelligence projects with a total investment of over 13 billion yuan (US$1.86 billion), the park’s operator said on Tuesday.

AI technologies including robots, the cloud and 5G are playing important roles during the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, supporting remote sterilization and monitoring, online teaching and high-quality video transmission. It has been one of the earliest sectors to resume operation and attract new investment in Shanghai, according to industry officials. 

Around 100 AI-related companies and investors were in discussion with the Maqiao AI Industrial Park by February. Founded in 2018, the park has two major AI development targets — robots and the cloud.

CloudMinds is investing 3.56 billion yuan to build a smart robot-manufacturing plant to produce selective compliance assembly robot arm (SCARA), which is widely used in industrial and service robots and smart manufacturing.

Unicloud is to build a 100,000-square-meter cloud computing facility in the park, a boost for the city’s AI and information infrastructure development.

It will install 20,000 high-performance computers in the second half of this year and another 40,000 in 2021. In the long term, Unicloud aims to offer public cloud services, integrating with chip and 5G abilities. 

Unicloud is a subsidiary of the Tsinghua Unigroup as China’s top chip and IT company with a “from-chip-to-cloud” strategy. In 2018, the group announced an investment of 12 billion yuan in public cloud services.

Other AI-related investment in Maqiao includes Shanghai Electric’s Internet Data Center, an AI incubator and global technology cooperation platform with an investment of 2 billion yuan, and iFlytek’s building of a voice-AI ecosystem.

AI has become one of the city’s strategic industries, attracting 1,100 related firms with a total output of over 140 billion yuan by 2019, according to Shanghai’s Commission of Economy and Information Technology.

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