AI research is a global endeavor. While the U.S. and China attract lots of attention for their contributions to AI, the truth is that countries worldwide are experimenting with this technology, discovering new breakthroughs, and attracting the attention of private investors.
Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Report 2023 estimated that global AI private investment in AI reached $91.9 billion in 2022, yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. Goldman Sachs forecasts that global AI investment will reach $110.2 billion in 2023 and grow to $158.4 billion in 2025.
The rankings in this article are loosely based on the overall innovation in the country’s AI startup community, the number of startups, the value of private investment, and government spending.
Top 10 Countries Leading in AI Research & Technology in 2023
1. The U.S.
Today, the U.S. is the most prolific country in AI research, with Macro Polo finding almost 60% of “top tier” AI researchers work for American universities and companies, and Mirae Assets suggesting $249 billion in private funding has been raised to date.
Silicon Valley alone is the home of some of the biggest vendors in the industry, including OpenAI, Google, Meta, and Anthropic, who’ve contributed to producing leading products, including GPT-4, DALL E-3, Bard, Llama 2, and Claude 2.
At this stage in the market’s development, GPT-4 is undoubtedly the golden goose of the AI race, achieving 100 million weekly active users.
AI investment in the region is also growing, with the Goldman Sachs study linked above finding that private investment in AI totaled $47.4 billion in 2022, more than half of global investment in AI that year.
The U.S. government is also actively investing in AI research and development, spending $3.3 billion on the technology in 2022.
The next most significant contributor to AI research is China, which has 11% of top-tier AI researchers (Macro Polo) and has raised $95 billion in private investment between 2022-2023, according to Mirae Assets.
Companies like Tencent, Huawei, and Baidu lead the country’s AI innovation with new releases, including Tencent’s Hunyuan’s large language model (LLM), a Chinese alternative to ChatGPT, Huawei’s Pangu, an LLM with 1.085 trillion parameters, and Baidu’s Ernie AI model, which the organization claims offers capabilities on par with GPT-4.
The Chinese government is also investing heavily in the AI arms race, with IDC expecting China’s investment to reach $38.1 billion in 2027, the equivalent of 9 percent of the world’s total.
3. The U.K.
For years, the U.K. has remained one of the leading contributors to the AI race. In fact, according to the International Trade Administration (ITA), the U.K. is the third largest AI market in the world after the U.S. and China, sitting on a current valuation of $21 billion, which it estimates will reach $1 trillion by 2035.
The country boasts a wide range of AI startups in the region, including the leading AI development lab, DeepMind, behind AlphaGo and AlphaFold, and Darktrace, which uses AI to offer enterprises the ability to detect cloud-based threats in real time.
Government spending on research and development is also on the rise, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly planning to increase taxpayer spending on chips and supercomputers to £400 million, including a £100 million investment in a supercomputer facility located in Bristol in partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Bristol University.
Israel’s local tech scene has established itself at the forefront of AI development, achieving $11 billion in private investment between 2013-2022 (Mirae Asset), the fourth highest in the world.
According to Ctech, as of 2023, there are 144 generative-AI related startups in the country, with total investment in the sector reaching $2.3 billion. The Israeli government has also released plans to invest $8 million to advance the development of AI apps in Hebrew and Arabic.
The region is the home of established AI-driven organizations, including AI-driven cybersecurity platform Deep Instinct, creator of AI writing assistant Wordtune, AI21 Labs, and enterprise security AI provider SentinelOne.
Canada has quietly emerged as a top 5 player in the international AI research scene. Between 2022 and 2023, $2.57 billion was invested in AI research in the country, as total AI investment reached $8.64 billion.
The Government of Canada has also committed to investing in the development of responsible AI across the country, investing over $124 million in the Université de Montréal in June 2023 via the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
France is not only one of the most significant economic powers in the European Union. Still, it is also the region’s leading contributor to AI research, with 338 startups and $7 billion in private investment obtained from 2013-2022 (Mirae Asset).
Government spending on AI is also expanding, with French President Emmanuel Macron committing to investing €500 million or approximately $533 million dollars in funding to create new AI “champions.”
India is the largest country in South Asia and the most significant contributor to AI research in the region. Last year, India raised $3.24 billion, making it the 5th country with the most AI investment. India is also estimated to have the highest penetration rate of AI skills among all G20 and OECD countries.
The country’s Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, recently announced that the Indian government will launch the India AI program soon to help encourage growth in the local AI startup ecosystem.
Some key Indian AI startups to watch include conversational AI platform Avaamo, AI health check platform HEAPs, robotics and AI smart screening provider SigTuple, and AI-driven automation platform Yellow.ai.
As one of the largest economies in Southeast Asia, Japan has also played a critical role in developing AI internationally. Mirae Assets estimates that Japan is home to 294 AI startups and has obtained $4 billion in private investment in AI between 2013-2022.
The country has also released plans to invest 2 trillion yen or $13 billion into the development of semiconductors and generative AI as a whole, so there is potential for the nation to become a bigger player in the market in the future.
Germany is another significant player in the global AI market, featuring 245 startups and having obtained $ 7 billion in private investment in AI between 2013 and 2022, according to Mirae Assets.
The German government is also planning to invest, back in August announcing it would double funding for AI research and pledging almost €1 billion towards developing AI solutions.
AI startups based in Germany include autonomous drone and air mobility provider Volocopter, multimodal LLM developer Aleph Alpha, deep learning translation company DeepL, and conversational AI platform Parloa.
Lastly, Singapore is one of the top AI innovators in South East Asia, with a modest ecosystem of 165 AI startups and $5 billion in AI investment generated between 2013-2022 (Mirae Assets).
In 2021, the Singapore government committed to investing roughly SGD500 million or $362 million USD in AI for five years as part of its National Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The country has also established a National AI office to collaborate with startups and research institutions in the region to help prompt growth.
While the U.S. and China stand at the forefront of the AI arms race, developing AI-driven solutions is very much an international game.
From Israel in the Middle East to the UK, France, and Germany in Europe, to India, Japan, and Singapore in Asia, significant contributions to this technology are occurring all over the globe.