SINGAPORE: China artificial intelligence startups that are looking to expand their horizons have been coming to Singapore for a number of reasons, including making themselves available to companies from across the globe as well as the accessibility of related technologies, reported Bloomberg on Monday (July 1).

Several AI startups have moved to the Little Red Dot largely due to trade sanctions from the United States that hindered their access to up-to-date, and therefore, much-needed, technologies.

Setting up shop in Singapore also allows these startups to distance themselves from their country of origin, a strategy known as “Singapore-washing.”

The tactic makes the companies more acceptable to the regulators of countries opposed to China, including the US, Bloomberg added.

Another important factor that has driven start-ups to Singapore is the availability of funding, which some companies have said is quickly diminishing in China.

However, the companies’ largest motivation may be related to their survival.

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Due to their need for cutting-edge chips to train their systems, AI companies’ products are not up to speed when access to these chips is denied or restricted.

The United States has disallowed the sale of the most sophisticated chips and other technologies to China, so they cannot be utilized in the military.

In Singapore, China AI startups can access Nvidia Corp.’s latest chips. The company, which touts itself as the “World Leader in Artificial Intelligence Computing,” has been on the rise and was, for a brief time last month, the world’s most valuable company, overtaking Apple and Microsoft.

At present, Nvidia rules the data centre market with its accelerator chips and has seen unsurpassed financial gains in the wake of the AI boom.

“It’s Nvidia’s market; we’re all just trading in it,” said Steve Sosnick, Interactive Brokers’ chief market strategist, in June.

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Singapore has pushed to enhance the country’s artificial intelligence capabilities.

Earlier this year, as part of the initiatives to invest in the future, then-Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong announced that Singapore will put more than S$1 billion over the next five years into National AI 2.0.

“Part of the investment will be used to ensure that Singapore can secure access to the advanced chips that are so crucial to AI development and deployment,” he said in February. /TISG

Featured image: Depositphotos

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