The US search engine has announced it will launch an artificial intelligence (AI) research center in China, albeit most Google services have been blocked in the country. According to Google, the research center will be “the first of a kind” in Asia, and will target China’s local talent.
Despite new censorship restrictions on the Internet, introduced last year, the initiative has received a warm welcome among Chinese policy makers, who seek to advance technologic development in the country.
China has been maintaining tight control over the Internet, with officials saying that the web has undermined socialist ideas and stability in the country. To access forbidden content, many people use VPN services, which grant them access to Google services and other blocked web-sites. The firm has been negotiating with Beijing over its comeback to the market, and the latter confirmed that the country had been in contact with the company through various channels.
Earlier this month Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, attended a conference organized by Beijing’s top cyber regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, where he had a chance to discuss the introduction of the AI research center.
Google has struggled to comply with Chinese censorship conditions and rules. The company made a decision to withdraw from the Chinese market, and relocate its servers to Hong Kong in 2010. The move came after the search engine had reportedly discovered a “sophisticated” cyberattack originating from the mainland, targeting the firm’s infrastructure, according to David Drummond, Google Chief Legal Officer.