Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google says on Wednesday it is opening an artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in China to focus on the country’s local talent, even as the United States search firm’s products stay blocked in the nation.
Google said in a declaration that the research centre was the first of its kind in Asia and would consist of a small group working out of its current office in Beijing.
Chinese policy makers have voiced solid help for AI research and development in the nation.
Nevertheless, they have imposed increasingly strict rules on foreign firms in the previous year, including new restraining censorship.
Google’s search engine is banned in the Chinese market along with its app store, email and cloud storage services.
China’s cyber regulators say restrictions on foreign media and internet platforms are designed to block influences that contravene stability and socialist ideas.
While tightening restrictions are likely to hamper a re-entry to the Chinese market for Google, the firm has increasingly focused on exposing its AI products in China.
In 2017 Google held a Go tournament in cooperation with local authorities in eastern China, pitching its AI against Chinese world champion Go player, Ke Jie.
The event was highly publicised overseas but local media was muted.
Earlier in December, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, appeared at a conference run by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top cyber regulator, where he steered away from market access issues to discuss the potential of AI.
Google said the new Chinese AI research center will join a list of similar overseas centers operating in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.