Chinese investment in AI industry
DeepBlue Technology, a leading Chinese firm in the artificial intelligence technology industry, announced at a press conference in Athens last Wednesday its dynamic entry into the Greek market with AI applications that are set to radically change public transport, payment methods, retail and the overall urban environment. The company’s main priorities lie in creating new jobs, transferring know-how and the development of AI applications in Greece.
Analyzing the perspectives of this new Chinese investment in Greece, Chen Haibo, DeepBlue Technology’s chief executive officer, underlined that “Greece and China have a long history. We place a premium on innovation and I believe that Greece will be an important partner for us in Europe and the world.”
The Chinese group aims at expanding in the broader Eastern Europe and the East Mediterranean. In this context DeepBlue signed an exclusive representation agreement last week with Amani Swiss, a Greek-owned company, as well as a memorandum of cooperation in the area of research with the School of Informatics at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University.
“Through our entry into the Greek market and the partnership with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, we will bring in our technology and we will invest in AI technology research. We will hire new scientists, who have the mood and the knowledge of AI technologies. I believe we will become good friends with the Greeks and we will have a very smooth cooperation,” said Chen.
Questioned as to why the company has chosen Greece of all countries in Europe, David Duan, vice president of DeepBlue Europe, said: “In China’s large cities digital technology is used in all aspects. Everything is digital. This was not the case five years ago. There is rapid development in China. Greece has extremely good prospects and European countries are very well developed in the commercial and construction sectors. Our presence in Greece is a significant opportunity for DeepBlue Technology to expand in Europe.” He added, “Our investments focus on the transportation sector through the production of Panda Bus, a self-propelled bus, and on AI technologies for smart cities.”
Asked about the schedule of DeepBlue Technology’s investment in Greece, Chen underlined that the Chinese company will choose its strategic partners with whom it will cooperate in Panda Bus production very soon and that the relevant announcements will be made immediately after the summer.
Eleftherios Angelis, chair of the Aristotle School of Informatics, said: “We have signed this memorandum of cooperation with DeepBlue in order to create a hub of AI and technology in Thessaloniki. The School of Informatics is an important sector for our city and offers significant opportunities in Thessaloniki and the broader area of northern Greece, where new scientists could bring their ideas to fruition with the know-how acquired. Consequently, our cooperation with DeepBlue is aimed at achieving the above and it is, therefore, very important to us.”
DeepBlue Technology Group is based in Shanghai, China, and operates in 17 countries worldwide. The company runs AI centers in Luxembourg, the US and Australia.
DeepBlue Technology is considered a global leader in research and development of AI applications and has a presence in areas of the global new technologies market including deep learning, machine vision, self-driving, biometrics, data mining, handwriting recognition technology, intelligent robots, AI chips, intelligent retail, intelligent cities, intelligent security, and intelligent education.
Last week DeepBlue’s representatives had the chance to introduce themselves to a Greek audience at a successful conference at Zappeion in Athens titled “One Belt, One Road: Chinese AI Landing in Greece,” which was organized by the Hellenic Trade Council (HETCO) nonprofit organization. The objective of the conference was to establish new ways of cooperation between Greece and China in the field of new technologies and artificial intelligence.
The conference was attended by a number of experts, including Dr Alex Zhang, head of the AI Brain Science Institute in Shanghai, who mentioned the need for new international cooperation that will take the lead in the promotion of new technologies and innovative applications in all sectors of the economy. “The economic situation in Greece in previous years may not have been ideal. Nowadays, things have changed. DeepBlue’s investment will bring new income, boost growth and will create new jobs,” Dr Zhang said.
The president of the Chinese Academy of Biological Sciences, Dr Kun Tang, noted that “DeepBlue chose Greece to promote AI technologies because it has an important geographic advantage, it connects Asia and Europe. Greece has all the potential to develop into a real hub of development and technology and applications. There is a wealth of talent and an excellent IT training mechanism, so there is no limit to future cooperation between DeepBlue and Greece.”
On the Greek side, the general secretary for industry, Apostolos Makrykostas, welcomed DeepBlue Technology’s decision to invest in Greece and stressed that with the support and power of DeepBlue, the digital economy of Greece will invest more funds and resources in R&D and will ensure the country’s future development.
“The New Democracy party is an open-minded political party that welcomes Chinese companies to invest and grow in Greece,” the vice president of New Democracy, Adonis Georgiadis, said, while MP Nikos Dendias referred to the strong historical and cultural ties between the two countries.
Three startup groups, Owiwi, InAccel and Nanometrisis, received an award during a special ceremony, and will represent Greece at the international innovation competition which DeepBlue Technology is organizing at the World AI Conference in Shanghai in August.