Info-tech

China curbs exports of some artificial intelligence technologies

Bloomberg | Updated on August 30, 2020 Published on August 30, 2020

Technologies related to drones and to some genetic engineering methods and procedures were also added to the list

China said it will restrict the exports of some artificial intelligence technology to safeguard national economic security, and will require government permits for overseas transfers.

AI interface technologies such as speech and text recognition, and those that analyse data to make personalized content recommendations, were added to a revised list of export-control products published on the Ministry of Commerces website late Friday.

The new restrictions could encompass technologies used by Chinas ByteDance Ltd, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a trade expert. Beijing-based ByteDance is being forced by President Donald Trumps administration to sell the United States (US) operations of its popular video-sharing TikTok app, and its unclear if the new rules will affect any potential sale.

Microsoft Corp and Oracle Corp have submitted rival bids to ByteDance to acquire TikTok’s US business, while Centricus Asset Management Ltd and Triller Inc made a last-minute pitch on Friday to buy TikTok’s operations in several countries for $20 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

ByteDance should study the new export list and seriously and cautiously consider whether it should halt negotiations, said Cui Fan, the trade expert who is a professor at Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics, as saying. The revised rules would cover cross-border transfers of restricted technologies even within the same company, while the impact and consequences of failing to make appropriate applications would be very different if an international business is spun off, Cui said separately in an interview with Bloomberg.

Centricus eleventh-hour bid adds intrigue to TikTok waiting game

Technologies related to drones and to some genetic engineering methods and procedures were also added to the revised export-control list while others in areas like medical equipment were removed. The revisions are meant to promote Chinas technological advancement and international cooperation, and safeguard national economic security, a commerce ministry representative said in a separate statement on Friday.

Technology exports cover various transfers out of China including via trade, investment and patents, according to the statement. Any export of restricted technology will require letters of export permit intentions from Chinese authorities before negotiations can be held, while final permits are required before any transfer happens.

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Published on August 30, 2020
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