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Singapore, a favorite destination for Chinese AI startups

Singapore, a favorite destination for Chinese AI startups
Singapore, a favorite destination for Chinese AI startups

Entrepreneurs usually look for artificial intelligence (AI) startup opportunities in the US, but there is a growing appetite to invest in Singapore.

Singapore has a National AI Strategy (NAIS 2.0), which deputy prime minister Lawrence Wong launched in December last year. There is tremendous pressure on NAIS 2.0 to push Singapore forward as a leader in the AI field. But it also aims to be the front runner for the safe use of it “for public good.”

There has been a rising number of AIs in the last few years. In the US alone, AI startups received around $23 billion in 2023.

Bloomberg is reporting that while Singapore has long attracted companies from China, AI entrepreneurs are accelerating the shift.

Could trade sanctions imposed on the US have given AI entrepreneurs cold feet? Qian Yiming, co-founder and chief technology officer of AI startup Climind, told the publication that Singapore is attractive because its government offers assistance. This is on financial and technical grounds.

Singapore supporting companies

While most companies setting up in Singapore are enjoying greater support for trading and technology, some are still targeted.

The Singapore government has committed to investing S$7 million (US$ 5 million) into an AI Accelerated Masters Programme with local universities to build their own Singaporean AI researchers.

Startups are moving away from China, partly because of its strict approach to AI-generated content. This is to comply with the ruling Communist party’s policies.

Chinese internet technology company ByteDance Ltd. moved to Singapore to grow its TikTok business, but it was still affected by new US law. The US has also slammed Chinese e-commerce business Shein, which is also now based in Singapore.

For startups in China, buying the latest cutting-edge technologies is impossible because of US export control. However, operating in Singapore makes it easy for AI startups to obtain the latest technology.

Facts about AI startups

Statistica predicts the AI market to reach $184 billion by the end of the year. It’s expected to quadruple by 2030, growing at 28.46% annually.

According to Edge Delta, here are some of the most important facts about AI startups.

  • There are 70,000 AI startups worldwide.
  • The US has the most AI startups (2013-2022).
  • Most funded AI startups in Asia are in China.
  • More than $42 billion was spent on AI startup funding in 2023.
  • OpenAI was the highest-funded operation in 2024.

NOW READ: Startup advice for young entrepreneurs from AI PhD researcher

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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