China’s AI Exports Database (CAIED)

With average annual commitments reaching $85 billion in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) era, China has been one of the world’s largest providers of development financing. Funded entirely or partially by China’s official sector institutions, Chinese technology companies deploy state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in many BRI recipient countries. The AI exports facilitated by these arrangements are expected to bolster China’s growing global AI technology-supported supply chains and trade flows. These AI tools, as they become embedded in different countries’ public and private systems could help China to influence global technology standards and regulations.

The China AI Exports Database (CAIED) tracks Chinese government-supported development finance projects that utilized or enabled AI technology in the Global South between 2000 and 2017. It was built on AidData’s Global Chinese Development Finance (CGDF) Dataset Version 2.0. Using the latest data mining tools, we identified 155 projects qualified as either an AI Application or as AI Infrastructure (i.e. critical infrastructure for AI applications, or a tool that enables AI applications to be adapted in the future). The CAIED also includes country governance information such as the regime type to demonstrate associations between AI technology use and governance systems.

The research reported here was funded by RAND-initiated research and conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Program of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

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