public surveillance in China may boost A.I. tech firms

The business of government surveillance in China might spawn the rise of a new growth area, a Credit Suisse analyst said on Tuesday.

“I think China has one pretty big advantage — that they have a lot of data — part of it (is) because the government collects a lot of data,” said Vincent Chan, head of China equity strategy at the investment bank.

Currently, almost half of the so-called “unicorn” startups in China — those valued at $1 billion or more — are consumer goods companies making use of existing technology. In the U.S., most unicorns are driven by new innovation through research and development.

However, new Chinese tech companies focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are surfacing — and changing the complexion of the industry.

“For example, quite a lot of AI companies in China, their biggest business is (the) public surveillance type (of business); that could be another area you could see rising,” Chan told CNBC at the Credit Suisse Asian investment Conference in Hong Kong.

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