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First incubation hub for AI foundation models unveiled in Xuhui

Yang Jian
China's first specialized incubation hub for artificial intelligence foundation models was unveiled on the West Bund waterfront in Shanghai's downtown Xuhui District on Thursday.
Yang Jian
First incubation hub for AI foundation models unveiled in Xuhui
Ti Gong

Shanghai Vice Mayor Chen Jie (center) and other city and district officials jointly unveil Model Speed Space, China's first incubation hub for AI foundation models, on Thursday.

China's first specialized incubation hub for artificial intelligence foundation models was unveiled on the West Bund waterfront in Shanghai's downtown Xuhui District on Thursday.

The Mosu, or Model Speed Space, Innovative Ecosystem Community and AI Foundation Model Industrial Zone aims to attract the world's leading AI firms and startups to foster the most cutting-edge AI foundation models.

Foundation models refer to a class of large-scale machine learning models that serve as the basis or foundation for a wide range of natural language understanding tasks. One of the most well-known examples of foundation models is OpenAI's GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) series.

The hub was initiated at the "AI Valley" of Shanghai along the Huangpu River waterfront, which is attracting some of the world's top scientists and companies working in AI. The hub also neighbors the West Bund Media Port, an international media hub featuring the nation's top-level film and television production bases as well as theaters.

The "Model Speed Space" is a joint effort between West Bund Sci-Tech Innovation and the Caohejing Development Zone. It will include multiple public service platforms to offer open data, testing and assessment, computing power scheduling, financing and other comprehensive service.

It mainly focuses on fast-growing AI application sectors, such as consumer goods, entertainment, healthcare, finance and education that have strong demand for foundation models.

The early-stage enterprises in the foundation model sector usually face challenges such as high capital investment, tight computing power requirements, high compliance costs, and difficulties in market integration, according to the Xuhui government.

The space will offer discounted rents for eligible businesses and provide annual funding support of up to a maximum of 10 million yuan (US$1.36 million).

During the unveiling ceremony, the city's cyberspace affairs office, Shanghai AI Lab, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, and the Shanghai Foundation Model Ecosystem Development Co announced they will set up service stops at the space to serve companies.

In addition, nearly 30 venture capital institutions jointly initiated the Shanghai Foundation Model Investment and Financing Partnership Program.

Xuhui has been listed as the first AI industrial cluster zone in Shanghai, characterized by active innovative elements, a solid industrial foundation, and prominent location advantages, the district government said.

It has brought together nearly 200 upstream and downstream enterprises in the AI sector. Three of China's first batch of approved foundation model institutes and companies are based in Xuhui.

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