The core search service of Google has been blocked for more the seven years in China, but it is not stopping the Internet behemoth from hiring up talent in the country related to machine learning and artificial intelligence.
AI has been tipped as becoming the pivotal in tech’s future, with high profile individuals like the former leader in Google China Kaifu Lee putting big bets on the potential impact it has in every profession across every industry.
Google continues to maintain a low presence across China. In 2015, while at an event in China, Eric Schmidt said Google never left China and is hiring for four or more positions that involved machine learning or AI at its office in Beijing.
It has been advertising roles as well within locations in Guangzhou and Shanghai, noted a tech industry analyst.
The push in hiring by Google comes as companies in China are increasingly expanding strategies for talent acquisitions to include the United States, and in particular Silicon Valley, to grab the finest engineers than anywhere on the planet.
Companies such as Tencent, Didi, Alibaba and Baidu operate research and development centers located in California, and matchmaking services have opened to respond to the increase in demand.
The United States might be tech talent’s ground zero today, but China is not far behind and is creeping closer and closer. This will likely grow even fiercer moving forward, and the government of China is also prioritizing AI.
A development plan that is state-led announced over the summer has a goal of making China the world’s leader in AI before 2030. The very ambitious program is looking to build $150 billion annual domestic industry, with Beijing prepared to heavily invest in the education and development so its vision becomes a reality.
Due to the scope of its ambition, and the increasing ranks of engineers focused on AI at top firms in China, Google is correct in looking into all the talent China has to offer.
Thus far it’s the first in making a strong push in the area. Other firms from the U.S. that have been blocked in China including Twitter and Facebook, maintain some sales areas in the country, where they help companies in China reach audiences around the world, but for now that is all.
Nevertheless, Facebook has been experimenting with its own social app for the country, but it appears unlikely it would make any major move in the short term.