Understanding China’s AI and Big Data Talent Landscape

30 Jan 2019 Category:
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With over a million jobs expected to be created in AI 2021, China is set to own a big portion of this demand. China’s rich AI talent pool of roughly 70,000 is highly consolidated in large local and multi-national corporations such as Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, eBay, and Amazon. Although China’s AI talent pool is not nearly as much as global powerhouses such as India or the US, the talent pool has experienced a CAGR of nearly 46% between 2016 and 2018.
Engineering teams in Chinese Deep Learning start-ups such as iCarbonX, sensitive, Face++ have rapidly scaled during the last 2 years thanks to the large investments from VCs. Shanghai and Beijing are top talent hotspots employing high paying skills across top Chinese tech firms. This has also allowed neighbouring tier-2 locations to rapidly mature owing to migration, improved infrastructure and administrative policies.
Factors Driving Supply
China has a favourable ecosystem of scalable AI talent due to a sizeable supply from Chinese universities. There are over 20 tier-1 universities offering PhD programmes in AI/Big Data and over 30 universities offering undergrad courses in AI. China also has among the lowest talent cost for new age skills among peer locations for given talent quality. The supply is being driven by China’s big 3 tech giants – Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.
The Startup Ecosystem
China’s thriving startup ecosystem houses a good portion of the country’s AI talent. Deep learning, healthcare, and facial recognition start-ups attract mature skills from Tier-1 universities and tech giants. China’s 390+ startups are driving the demand for job profiles such as Software Engineer, NLP Engineer, Algorithm Engineer, and Deep Learning Architect.

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