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China's AI models maturing with wise investment, industrial application

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China's AI models maturing with wise investment, industrial application

2024-06-18 17:38 Last Updated At:20:57

Large language models (LLMs) are rapidly transforming industries and unlocking new applications and capabilities across China at a breakneck pace, even as enthusiasm for investing in this branch of artificial intelligence (AI) has become more measured.

Many investors have confided that while LLMs hold undeniable allure, the staggering costs involved in their development cannot be ignored. Training a single large model in China could easily require investments ranging from several billion to tens of billions of yuan, they said.

"In the beginning, everybody wants to develop pre-training base models, because they all know if you want to build a building, you must first lay the foundation. But they found that it's not such an easy thing to do," said Li Jiaqing, managing director of Legend Capital.

"From a global perspective, the universal model is only suitable for certain enterprises. It's not a good fit for large enterprises to take part in. The universal model is characterized by a large input requirement and relatively longer investment period," said Cheng Tian, a partner at Shunwei Capital.

As a result, market capital is no longer flowing indiscriminately into LLM startups as it did initially. Investors in this field are more cautious, with funds concentrating on a few industry-leading firms.

Data reveals that in the first quarter of this year, two prominent LLM companies raised a combined 12 billion yuan, accounting for half of the total 22.4 billion yuan (around 3 billion U.S. dollars) invested in the AI sector during that period.

"After I've invested in a company, when can I exit? That is a question closely related to commercialization. Which companies have clear prospects in commercialization? More funds will pour into such related fields," said Jiang Zhiwei, Head of Singapore for the International Group of CICC Investment Banking.

Policymakers, meanwhile, continue to roll out measures encouraging the fusion of AI technology and industry. But challenges remain, from the scarcity of high-quality training data to the limitations of current algorithmic frameworks.

"The first bottleneck for the LLM is the quality of information -- quality data is still relatively scarce. The second is the high quality and diversity of algorithm, which is mainly restrained by algorithm framework," said Zou Debao, deputy general manager of AI and big data research at market research firm CCID Consulting.

While early movers in industrial LLM applications enjoy an advantage due to China's diverse use cases and industry-specific data, data security remains a critical concern.

Moreover, though LLM applications are accelerating, their long-term development hinges on continued AI technological progress. According to insiders, technological innovation and LLM investment must be synchronized to ensure coordinated growth. "Whether in terms of large computing power platforms, LLMs, or preparation of data in a base model combined with the industry, I think (investment) is not enough. Investment should continue, but it should come from an angle centered on users and scenarios. We should invest in a specific industrial application, a problem-solving perspective, rather than taking it solely as an AI model," Li said.

China's AI models maturing with wise investment, industrial application

China's AI models maturing with wise investment, industrial application

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China, Vanuatu enjoy long, close relationship

2024-07-14 11:02 Last Updated At:11:37

China and the Pacific islands nation of Vanuatu have been enjoying a long-term and close ties since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1982.

Vanuatu gained independence in 1980 after being under the joint sovereignty of France and Britain. Two years later, Vanuatu and China established formal diplomatic relations. The Chinese embassy was built just a few years after that.

Today, China is Vanuatu's second largest trading partner, accounting for about a quarter of the country's imports.

Earlier this month, China donated a new multi-million-dollar presidential palace in a handover ceremony. It's the latest in a series of Chinese aid projects that includes the National Convention Center, and government offices.

"Vanuatu's relationship with China is very important. It's one of our main important relationships we have. Traditionally, we've had very strong relations with Australia. Australia has been our, and I think it still is our main source of development assistance and trade. But more and more China has been coming into that space. China has become much more important as we see the rise of China," said Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Climate Change of Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is blessed with a diverse terrain and beautiful scenery.

Vanuatu's capital of Port Vila, home to around 50,000 people, is the country's biggest city. While small in size, it is usually bustling with people, thanks in part to the role tourism plays in this country.

The Republic of Vanuatu sits in the Pacific, about 1,700 kilometers northeast of Australia.

It's a Y-shaped archipelago, consisting of more than 80 islands formed from volcanoes. In fact, there are several active volcanoes, as well as underwater volcanoes in the country. Volcanic activity is described as an ever-present danger. The most recent one took place last year.

The country's geography and location in the Pacific makes it more prone to natural disasters than almost any other places on the planet. That includes the ever present danger of cyclones. Last year, Vanuatu was hit by back-to-back cyclones in just 48 hours, impacting most of the country's more than 300,000 people.

About 80 percent of the population depends entirely on subsistence farming as it is an agriculture-based economy.

People grow and sell tropical fruits and vegetables as their main source of income. Some of the main crops include kava, coconut and coffee.

Like many Pacific islands nations, the beautiful country is being greatly impacted by climate change which includes rising sea-level, coastal erosion and damage from more frequent and more intense severe weather events.

China, Vanuatu enjoy long, close relationship

China, Vanuatu enjoy long, close relationship

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