China plans to increase its computing power by 50% by 2025, the country’s key ministries said Monday, as it looks to keep pace with the U.S. in artificial intelligence and supercomputing applications. The world’s second-largest economy wants to have computing capacity equal to 300 exaflops, according to a plan from six government departments, including the powerful cyberspace regulator. That would be up from the 197 exaflop computing power the country currently has. An exaflop, or EFLOP, refers to a unit of computing power. For context, one exaflop is equivalent to the computing power of two million mainstream laptop computers, according to Counterpoint Research. The Chinese ministries said that the increased computing power will be required to support applications in industries including finance and education. Expanding computing power is seen as key for supporting the development of artificial intelligence which requires advanced semiconductors to process huge amounts of data. “China has found that traditionally, every 1 yuan invested in computing power has driven 3-4 yuan of economic output,” Akshara Bassi, senior research analyst at Counterpoint, told CNBC via email. “The investments echo China’s plans to drive economic output through leadership in technology prowess and integrating AI with existing technologies and solutions across all industries and domains.” Technologies like semiconductors and AI have become key battlegrounds in the tech rivalry between the U.S. and China.
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