Xuhui releases 'T-plan' for AI development

Shanghai's first artificial intelligence town will be built in Beiyang area in Xuhui District, featuring AI firms, labs and a residential community with wide AI applications.
Ti Gong

Government and company officials jointly illuminate the landmark AI Tower on the West Bund waterfront, to house AI tech firms and become a global AI development and exhibition center.

Shanghai's first artificial intelligence town will be built in Beiyang area in Xuhui District, featuring AI firms, labs and a residential community with wide AI applications, officials said on Thursday.

It is part of a "T-plan" to further support the development of AI firms and attract more to come to the district. The T-plan is interpreted as Top and Tomorrow, (AI) Tower and Town, as well as Tech and Talent, district director Fang Shizhong said.

The Beiyang AI Town, covering 600,000 square meters along the Dianpu River, will gather technological companies mainly focusing on brain simulation, IntelliSense and automated driving. AI technologies will be applied in medical, finance, transport, media and business industries within the town.

The site, formerly known for the Beiyang wharf, an industrial port, will preserve some of the warehouses, cranes and other industrial relics and convert historical structures into education centers and commercial facilities.

The project is part of the Xuhui government’s efforts to develop into an “AI highland.”

In another key project, a 200-meter-tall landmark building, the AI Tower, has already been completed on Longyao Road in the West Bund and will become a global AI development and exhibition center. Multinational headquarters of AI companies will be based in the building.

The first batch of companies, including Microsoft Research Asia, attended a lighting ceremony for the landmark building.

Around the building, Xuhui District will build a West Bund “Intelligence Valley” covering a million square meters along the Huangpu River for AI industries, said Fang.

Xuhui announced it will subsidize at most 20 million yuan a year for each AI-related project, which will become one of the city’s highest government subsidies for a single project. Newly developed AI technologies will be allowed to be used for government affairs, urban management and traffic.

Local hospitals, schools and administrative service centers will also be encouraged to initially use AI technologies, the district government said.

Xuhui will also offer 1,500 talent apartments a year with low rent for professionals of the AI companies. The first batch of about 2,000 low-rent apartments at the West Bund are ready to accommodate professionals, with the lowest rents, at 1,800 yuan per month, in sharp contrast to the city’s usual sky-high housing prices.

Xuhui has attracted one fourth of the city’s total of 403 key AI companies, including internet giants Tencent, Netease, Xiaomi, Microsoft and Amazon. The gross output of these AI firms in Xuhui is expected to reach 21 billion yuan in 2018, a 30 percent increase year on year. The 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference was also held in the West Bund in Xuhui between September 17 and 19.

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