Many of China's best AI researchers seek positions outside the country

Visitors at the Smart China Expo in Chongqing. (

The Chicago-based think tank MarcoPolo has estimated that three-quarters of China's top AI talent work abroad.

MarcoPolo writes that China's AI talent pool has grown tenfold in the last ten years, judging by the number of Chinese-authored papers accepted into NeurIPS, an elite annual conference:

In 2009, only about 100 Chinese AI scientists (defined as those who did their undergraduate studies in China) were accepted to the NeurIPS conference. A decade later, nearly 1,000 were accepted, making up about a quarter of the total amount of authors accepted to the conference.

Despite the massive growth, the majority of them work abroad. 85% of them in the United States:

Some currently work for US tech giants such as Google and IBM, while others hold professorships at top institutions such as UCLA and University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.