Shanghai, 7 January 2019 – Speaking at the 19th UBS Greater China Conference (GCC), Jerry Liu, Co-Head of China Internet Research, UBS, and Bill Lu, Asia Semiconductors Analyst, UBS, told delegates that while initially China lagged other global leaders in many areas, rapid data growth has leapfrogged the world's most populous nation into the lead in some fields. It is also rapidly becoming a leadership contender in many other areas, they said.

Guest speaker at the "Contending for the future of innovation" plenary session, Lee Kai Fu, Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures and President of Sinovation Ventures' Artificial Intelligence Institute, said, "The Chinese entrepreneurial environment is winner take all - a gladiatorial fight to the death with only one winner. You have to innovate and win - and when you win you have a monopoly."

"Data growth is AI's fuel, and China's scale and relatively loose regulatory environment give it an edge over the US and Europe in terms of data collection and use," said Bill Lu.

"The development of AI in China hinges on two factors: first, whether data availability and use becomes more regulated/restricted outside China (the willingness of Chinese citizens to share data is around 1.3 times greater than that of their counterparts in the US and three times that in Germany); and second, the extent to which markets open – especially the free trade of enabling technologies, components and code (cross-border tech/AI China-related M&A has ground to a virtual halt over the past year)," added Jerry Liu.

"Future development will hinge on the regulatory environment in the US, the pace of the import/export of key technologies and the pace of innovation of hardware/software in China's domestic market," Liu added.

"At the sector level the implications of AI for non-tech sectors are less obvious than those for tech companies. While, typically, tech is 'winner-take-all', many non-tech sectors in China are fragmented and AI is likely to bring economies of scale that could cause consolidation and disruption," said Bill Lu.

The UBS Greater China Conference, which runs from 7 to 11 January in Shanghai, attracted more than 1800 institutional investors and 230 China-focused companies and funds.

Notes to Editors

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