US Expansion Of Trade Blacklist Hurts China’s AI Plans

The United States has expanded its blacklist of Chinese companies ahead of trade talks, and the move will potentially hurt China’s artificial intelligence (AI) ambitions, and its desire to become the leading country with the technology by 2030.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that eight companies were added to the list, companies that need access to American chips and parts to advance their work.

China has singled out 15 companies to lead its AI push, and five of those are included in the blacklist. They are: Voice-recognition outfit iFlytek Co.; surveillance-system producer Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co.; facial-recognition companies SenseTime Group Ltd. and Megvii Technology Ltd.; and Yitu Technology, a company that focuses on AI technologies in the fields of cities, healthcare and business.

Some of the companies have probably been stockpiling different necessary components for a while to make sure they can handle disruptions in supply chains, but the research and development of new technologies could definitely be affected, especially since most use U.S. chips.

The long-term effects could be more serious, and see the end of Chinese and American partnerships as well as a staunching of Chinese talent coming to America.

Trade talks are set to resume in Washington, D.C. in a few days.

Beijing did not respond to the news in a big way, it simply said that it was going to continue with the trade meetings, and a foreign ministry spokesman said that the United States should “correct its mistakes.”

Matt Sheehan, a fellow at MacroPolo, part of the Paulson Institute think tank that focuses on the Chinese economy, said that the move will only divide the tech valley between the two countries.

“It’s leading a lot of private tech companies [in China], as well as the government, into a defensive crouch, where they feel like they need to band together and really once again turn inwards,” he said.