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Business trends

China surges ahead of US in AI startup funding

The country now also world's No. 1 in patent publications

Alibaba Group Holding is using facial recognition technology in payment services, such as this "Smile to Pay" platform in China.

TOKYO -- Chinese companies won nearly half of all funding for AI startups last year, vaulting past the U.S. and firmly establishing the country as a global leader in the field.

Artificial intelligence startups worldwide raised a record $15.2 billion in 2017, according to American research firm CB Insights. Chinese businesses accounted for 48% of the total, up from just 11.6% in 2016. The U.S. placed second with 38%.

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