China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) has approved applications by 180 colleges to set up new AI-related majors for undergraduate students in 2019, compared to just 35 in the previous year – this
makes AI the fastest expanding discipline on the mainland. This underlines China’s ambition to become the global leader in this field, as it laid out plans to reach this goal by 2030. Last year, the first set of universities – including top places Peking and Tsinghua – started accepting students under this specialized discipline. A shortage of talent has been seen as the major stumbling block, and this educational boost is also seen as a way to bring closer ties between talent training and economic development. The Chinese authorities have projected that the area defined as core AI will be worth 150 billion yuan (USD 21bn) and related industries will reach 1 trillion yuan (USD 141bn) by the end of the year.