The Rise of China AI Computer Vision Industry – Part I

By: Edward Chan

Investment Analyst – Hardware, Semiconductor

Computer vision is the largest Artificial Intelligence (AI) sub-segment globally in terms of patents filed and a key driver of China’s AI industry.(Source: CICC 2019) Advancement in computing power both at the edge and on the cloud allows deployment of powerful computer vision models. China has the second-largest AI industry globally, with a market size estimated to be over RMB100 billion in 2019, according to Deloitte.(Souce: Deloitte Research 2019)

Understanding Computer Vision

There are many terms people use around AI which make them seems interchangeable, but they are not. Computer vision is a field under AI, and its earliest development started with research in US colleges in the late 1960s. Fundamentally it works on the recovery of the three-dimensional structure of the world from images and uses this towards full scene understanding. Machine learning is one of the techniques used to develop algorithms for computer vision, and it is also widely used to construct models in other AI applications such as natural language processing. Deep leaning is a technique under machine learning, where feature extraction and learning happens in the same neural network with multiple layers.

Application Opportunities for Computer Vision

Surveillance is one of the earliest adopter of computer vision in China, as firms have been focusing on providing integrated hardware and software surveillance solutions in the past few years. Security image analysis accounted for about 68% of the total computer vision industry in China in 2017. (Source: iReaserch 2017) There are plenty of opportunities for computer vision technologies to penetrate other industries in China. Companies are exploring applications in areas such as healthcare, autonomous driving, and smart retails. We will take a closer look at some key areas to apply computer vision below.