ChinaEU at the 13th China International Software Product & Information Service Trade Fair in Nanjing

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The opening ceremony of the 13th China (Nanjing) International Software Product & Information Service Trade Fair

The 13th international software product and information service trade fair in the city of Nanjing, that took place from 6 to 9 September, is a barometer of tremendous development of the software industry in China.

The growth of the Chinese software industry in sectors like big data, cloud services, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, are one of the priority targets of the Chinese leadership, which sees technological innovation as a key driver of sustainable economic growth. China has set the bar high and aims to be the world’s top AI innovation hub by 2030.

China has important assets to reach its ambitious targets, including the availability of a enormous pool of data for analytics and research, a vast market of 694 million smartphone users as well as a highly qualified technical workforce. This is a recipe for success.

The high potential of the software market in China is confirmed by the close monitoring of multinational companies like Google, who has just recently decided to build an AI team in Beijing to tap into the country’s advanced engineering talents.

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Miao Ruilin, Mayor of Nanjing, speaking at the opening ceremony

On 6 September, the fair was kicked-off by the Mayor of Nanjing, Miao Ruilin, who reminded that only in Nanjing city the software industry has registered an income of RMB 250 bn (EUR 32 bn) in 2016, that is 5% of the annual national income of this industry. The Fair gathered some of the very best Chinese software companies and academies such as AsiaInfo, Xiaomi, iFLYTECH, Didi, Mobike, Suning and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Nanjing aims at positioning itself as the capital of the Chinese software industry, hosting over 1800 Chinese and international software enterprises over a planning area of 70 square kilometers as part of the China (Nanjing) Software valley.

The Chinese software companies are not exclusively focused on the Chinese market. Several are already eying expansion overseas and Europe is one of the popular targets.

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Cheng Wei, Co-Founder & CEO of Didi, delivering a speech on “Didi: New technology drives transformation of travel mode” 

For instance, Didi, today the largest taxi app in the world, has recently acquired a minority holding of Taxify, an Estonian taxi hailing startup, looking to tap into Europe and Africa.

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Xia Yiping, Co-Founder & CTO of Mobike, delivering a speech on “Smart travel, future of IoT”

Another example is the successful Chinese bike-sharing company Mobike who has already set a presence in the UK and Italy. Not only do these bikes help people get around their cities in a revolutionary way, but they also collect around 20 TB of data every single day.

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Victor Yuan, Chairman of Horizon Research Consultancy Group, delivering a speech on “Building business decision-making ability based on big data”

This adds to the huge pool of data that China has. Victor Yuan, chairman of Dataway Horizon, a research consultancy providing data intelligence services, argued at the Nanjing Trade Fair that the power of this huge pool of data becomes even stronger when it is not limited to individual companies, but shared and combined together.

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Lu Xiaoye, General Manager of iFLYTEK Jiangsu, delivering a speech on “The latest developments & applicaitons of AI Technology”

During the Nanjing Fair, iFLYTEK showed the power of AI applied to translation, which could make interpreters redundant, but will at the same time bring down the costs of multi-cultural communication.

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Luigi Gambardella, President of ChinaEU, giving a speech on software and EU regulation at the opening ceremony

The Fair also addressed the impact of regulation on the performance of the industry. The President of ChinaEU, Luigi Gambardella, reminded the audience that the move from the hardware to the software innovation cycle increasingly poses the necessity to find the right balance between regulation (ensuring the protection of users’ data and companies’ patents) and innovation. In this important matter, exchange of best practices between European and Chinese enterprises, universities and regulators becomes crucial to guarantee to development of a healthy and universal software information industry.

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Prof. Nadia Thalmann, a life member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, presenting her ongoing research on the human-like robot Nadine

A recent example of the key value of international cooperation is the successful partnership between the Swiss Academy of Engineering (Lausanne) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). This cooperation has led to the creation of Nadine, the most human-like robot in the world. Now the Swiss Academy of Engineering is cooperating with the Jinling Institute of Technology on research programs. It is only a matter of time before success will be achieved.