BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese search engine Baidu Inc
The Partnership on AI (PAI), which counts Alphabet Inc's
Last year China's industry ministry named Baidu as one of four national AI champions, and the search firm has invested heavily in autonomous driving and deep learning in recent years.
"Baidu's admission represents the beginning of PAI's entrance into China. We will continue to add new members in China and around the world as we grow," said PAI in a statement on Tuesday.
The inclusion of Baidu in the group comes as Chinese and U.S. companies are looking to ramp up cooperation on AI, despite a looming political scuffle between the U.S. and China over technology transfers.
Last year China laid out a roadmap to become a world leader in AI by 2025, with plans to invest roughly $400 billion in the industry in the coming years.
The ambitions have rankled the U.S. government, which has discussed plans to bolster security reviews of cutting-edge technology, including AI, over fears that China could access technology of strategic military importance.
China's AI roadmap encourages technology sharing between private, public and military research groups.
Despite the clash, U.S. companies have expanded their AI presence in China while Baidu and other Chinese firms have launched AI research labs in the United States.
Last month China's cyber ministry hosted Google, Amazon Inc
At the forum, top government officials stressed that China's development of AI technology would be ethically conducted, adding that they have plans to retrain workers who lose their jobs to AI.
(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Christopher Cushing)