DeepBlue Technology (深兰科技), the Shanghai-based Robotics and Artificial Intelligence start-up, began construction of its Asian Research & Development Center in Changzhou, a city in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, on May 18, 2019, with Changzhou government officials attending the groundbreaking ceremony.
With a financing cost of CNY 500 million (USD 72.41 million), the center sits on a sit area of 25,000 square meters and has designed floor space of 60,000 square meters. When completed, it will become part of the Changzhou Science and Education Town. The center focuses on fundamental AI research and practical application. No much information has been released so far but according to DeepBlue Technology, the Changzhou-based center will project its influence across Asia and beyond; it will comprise three labs (chips, autonomous driving, and brain science) and five centers (data, smart city, genetic testing, operation, and training).
This is not the first time that DeepBlue has interacted with the Changzhou government. Last year, DeepBlue launched its robotics factory and AI Chip Lab in Changzhou. This January, DeepBlue also carried out road tests on products ranging from smart retail to autonomous driving in the city. Among them were Panda Bus, Eat-on-wheels, Sweeper, and Vending Robot, which are the company's best-known products and its chief money-spinner. DeepBlue's new center is another indication of Changzhou's favorable environment for AI development.
Founded in 2014 by a team of experts with PhDs, DeepBlue is one of the fastest growing companies in the AI industry. EO Company once reported that DeepBlue Technology had raised hundreds of millions of yuan from investors including BOCG (蓝海基金), Meridian Capital (华映资本)，Desun Capital (德商资本), CICC (中金), and Greenland Financial (绿地金融).
DeepBlue provides an assortment of products and solutions across a wide spectrum of user scenarios. They cover AI driving & vehicle manufacturing, smart robotics, smart city, biological intelligence, advanced retail, voice recognition, chipmaking, security and education. Despite the rich product line, the lack of related technical information publicly available has elicited a barrage of criticisms that the company was "selling concepts only".
Changzhou is one of the richest cities in the Yangtze River Delta economic zone, a highly industrialized region linked up by advanced transportation networks. With a two-hour drive from Shanghai, Changzhou has boomed over the past few years, becoming a manufacturing hub thanks to its competitive labor and capital costs.
Combined with the city's geographical and historical market advantages -- it has been a commercial and tourist city for centuries -- local authorities have been eager to turn the city into a magnet for investment in technological innovation and industry upgrading. DeepBlue's products are especially compatible with the retail and tourist market in Changzhou.
With the infrastructure and government support in place, DeepBlue's R&D center in Changzhou will be provided with datasets and environments suitable for AI training and testing, and this will have a significant impact on the performance of its AI business.
"Leading AI companies such as DeepBlue Technology have started to focus on cutting-edge AI technology, showing their long-term goals and enhanced capabilities,"NI Guangnan (倪光南), a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said at the ground-breaking ceremony for the center.