The Worldwide Digital Economic system Academy (IDEA) quietly opened final yr, perched amongst ultramodern workplace buildings on Shenzhen’s aspect of the river border with Hong Kong.
Whereas geographically separated from Hong Kong, technically, the analysis institute is positioned inside a particular space straddling the 2 cities: the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Know-how Cooperation Zone. The identify is self-explanatory. It’s a joint effort by the governments of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, with assist from Beijing and favorable insurance policies, to collaborate on scientific and technological analysis.
IDEA is likely one of the organizations which have arrange inside the three.89 km² particular zone — which is concerning the dimension of 540 soccer pitches — and is a brainchild of Harry Shum. The famend laptop scientist was an government vp at Microsoft from 2013 to 2019 and in addition co-founded Microsoft’s largest analysis department outdoors the U.S., Microsoft Analysis Asia.
Like his former colleague at Microsoft, Kai-Fu Lee, Shum was energetic in each the analysis and enterprise sides of AI. Now at IDEA, his crew goals to “develop disruptive modern applied sciences based mostly on social wants and provides again to society in a manner that enables extra individuals to profit from the event of the digital financial system.” A number of analysis administrators at IDEA are additionally Microsoft veterans, together with Yutao Xie and Jiaping Wang.
The sweeping regulatory clampdown on China’s web companies has led to headlines saying Beijing has turned towards tech. However the authorities’s intent is extra nuanced. It’s zeroing in on Massive Tech deemed dangerous to the society and financial system, firms which have inspired monetary market dangers, gaming dependancy, exploitation of gig employees, and different ills.
Within the meantime, China stays fixated on its aim to advertise basic analysis and cut back reliance on Western applied sciences. In Shenzhen, house to tech giants like Huawei, DJI and Tencent, the federal government is recruiting world-class scientists. Harry Shum and his crew are among the many newest to have joined the raft.
IDEA undoubtedly has a buzzy identify (and an incredible acronym). The time period “digital financial system” comes up usually in President Xi Jinping’s speeches on how know-how is usually a driving power for the financial system. The “digital financial system has grow to be a key power in restructuring the worldwide financial system and remodeling the worldwide aggressive panorama in recent times,” the President stated in October. “The web, massive information, cloud computing and different applied sciences are being more and more built-in into all sectors of financial and social growth.”
IDEA is inspecting how AI can rework industries like finance, manufacturing and medical care. This week, it introduced it’s partnering with main Chinese language quant dealer Ubiquant on a joint lab to work on “danger monitoring and avoidance for monetary transaction markets,” in addition to “primary infrastructure for high-performance computing techniques.”
IDEA is simply one of many many analysis labs which have sprung up throughout Shenzhen in recent times. The Shenzhen Institute of Knowledge Economic system, positioned on the Shenzhen campus of the Chinese language College of Hong Kong with assist from the federal government, is one other group working to advance China’s digital financial system.