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China Leads in AI Adoption but Trails in Full Implementation

Illustration depicting the high adoption rates of generative AI in China, featuring a map of China with AI-related icons such as data charts, robots, and neural networks. The background shows a contrasting comparison with the US leading in full implementation, represented by a map of the US with similar AI icons. The overall theme emphasizes the disparity between AI adoption and full implementation across different countries

China Leads in AI Adoption but Trails in Full Implementation

China has emerged as a global leader in the usage and investment in generative artificial intelligence (AI), yet it lags behind the United States in fully implementing this technology. This insight comes from a recent study conducted by SAS and Coleman Parkes Research.

Survey Highlights

On July 9, SAS, a US-based AI and analytics software company, revealed findings from a survey involving 1,600 decision-makers across various industries worldwide. The results indicated that 83% of respondents in China are utilizing generative AI technology. In comparison, the adoption rates are 70% in the United Kingdom and 65% in the United States. The global average stands at 54%, with significant use in sectors such as banking, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail, and energy.

Adoption vs. Implementation

Despite high adoption rates, effective implementation remains a challenge. Stephen Saw, managing director at Coleman Parkes, pointed out that high adoption does not necessarily translate to effective implementation or better returns. In terms of fully implemented generative AI, the US leads with 24% of organizations, followed by China at 19% and the UK at 11%.

Navigating the Hype Cycle

Bryan Harris, executive vice president and chief technology officer at SAS, explained that organizations are moving beyond the initial hype of generative AI. "As we exit the hype cycle, it is now about purposefully implementing and delivering repeatable and trusted business results from GenAI," Harris said.

Challenges and Innovations

China faces significant restrictions on accessing US-created technology, such as high-power semiconductor chips from Nvidia. Despite these challenges, China remains highly optimistic about AI. The United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization reports that China leads in filing generative AI-related patents, with over 38,000 patents filed between 2014 and 2023, compared to 6,276 by the US.

Industry Impact

In recent developments, four Chinese startups focused on generative AI have achieved unicorn status, each valued at over $1 billion. Additionally, China's popular e-payments application, AliPay, has integrated generative AI, even incorporating features like detecting users' balding patterns.


While China leads in the adoption and investment in generative AI, it still needs to catch up with the US in terms of full implementation. The focus now shifts to leveraging this technology effectively to achieve consistent and reliable business outcomes.