China AI patent submissions shoot up

China has led growth in artificial intelligence-related patent applications in recent years, while total U.S. submissions remained by far the highest, data compiled by Japanese company Astamuse showed.

The Tokyo-based company’s tally showed total applications in China grew about 190% to 8,410 in the five-year period from 2010 as compared with the figure for the previous five years. That represents the biggest jump among the 10 countries and regions surveyed, which include the U.S., China, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

Using the same comparison periods, submissions in the U.S. grew 26% to 15,317, the highest total figure counted, while applications in Japan were down 3% to 2,071.

Shigeoki Hirai, director general at the government-affiliated New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, points out the growth in China is not only in number but in quality as well.

“China’s progress is remarkable in hot areas like deep learning,” Hirai said. “It’s not like they are only growing in numbers.”

As businesses, universities and research organizations compete in the race to develop the technology, a total of over 60,000 applications have been submitted for AI patents in the countries surveyed since 2005.

The figure rose about 70% to 8,205 in 2014, the latest year for which a complete set of statistically significant data is available, compared with 2010.

“The number of applications in 2015 and 2016 should have been higher than 2014 and renewed the record high,” said Nobuaki Kawaguchi, manager of Astamuse’s technology intelligence department.

Visit the Nikkei online edition for more detailed data, including a ranking of businesses and universities in the U.S., China and Japan by number of AI patent applications submitted.

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