Google's parent Alphabet said in a statement that it had launched the Google AI China Center on Wednesday in Shanghai, the company's first facility of its kind in Asia. The center is focused on "basic AI research" and will be made up of a team of researchers based in Beijing.
The center will be headed by Fei-Fei Li, a Stanford University professor who is chief scientist of AI and machine learning at Google Cloud, and Jia Li, head of research and development at Google Cloud AI.
The tech giant's AI push in China comes amid growing recognition of the country's rise as a major contender in the space. While the U.S. is often regarded as the leading AI powerhouse globally, Goldman Sachs acknowledged in a September report that China was among the countries hot on the U.S.' heels.
With AI talent in short supply, Google's latest push in China is also an opportunity for the company to snap up top researchers in the world's second-largest economy.
"I believe AI and its benefits have no borders. Whether a breakthough occurs in [the] Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, it has the potential to make everyone's life better ... As an AI-first company, this is an important part of out collective mission. And we want to work with the best AI talent, wherever that talent is, to achieve it," Fei-Fei Li wrote in a statement.