The AI Race: 7 Countries to Watch Out For

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a real thing. With innovations like chatbots and virtual assistants, we are now able to interact with AI directly. This technology’s capabilities extend to facial recognition, enhancing search engine results, and powering the autonomous navigation systems of autonomous cars. It’s a trend that’s been hailed as the next industrial revolution. But which countries are leading this change?

AI is set to transform the world beyond recognition. With ChatGPT being the fastest-growing application in history, with 100 million monthly users in January 2024, the new era of AI has begun. These are the countries at the forefront of the AI revolution.

United States

When it comes to winning the AI race, the US is definitely the leader. Out of the top 20 AI-producing countries in the world in 2023, the US possessed the most robust research capability. Silicon Valley alone is home to some of the world’s biggest tech companies, such as Google, Meta (formerly Facebook), Apple and Microsoft. The country has the largest amount of data and the most sophisticated infrastructure for AI research. 

As per TechMonitor, with almost 50% of all spending on AI-related projects, the US will be the biggest market for AI systems by 2026. While only making up 20% of the world’s AI spending, Western Europe is expected to increase at the quickest rate throughout the next five years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30%. 

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to completely transform a wide range of businesses by being integrated into existing operational frameworks for a variety of purposes, including product development, marketing strategies, supply chain optimisation, and research analytics. Over the next ten years, Next Move Strategy Consulting expects the AI market to grow significantly. This industry is currently valued at about $100 billion, but by 2030, it is expected to grow tenfold to almost two trillion dollars.

Companies to watch:

  • OpenAI (AI research and development organisation)
  • Tesla (autonomous driving)
  • Nvidia (AI engine & solutions)


China is the next biggest contributor to AI development after the US and is likely to dominate the AI race in the future. As per Reuters, in January last year, more than forty AI models were certified for public use. According to the South China Morning Post, the AI market in China is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 18%, from $38.89 billion this year to $104.7 billion by 2030. 

Chinese companies are making great strides in the AI field with companies like Tencent, Huawei, and Baidu. Their newest AI developments include the Chinese version of ChatGPT – Baidu’s Ernie AI model, which the company claims has capabilities comparable to OpenAI’s chatbot.

According to the Guardian, Chinese authorities unveiled their proposed regulations for generative AI in the summer of 2023. These guidelines stipulated that any content produced by AI, be it text or visuals, must adhere to the “core values of socialism” and should not propagate incorrect information, threaten national unity, or subvert official authority. In order to keep customers from growing overly reliant on AI services, mandates were also placed on AI service providers.

Companies to watch:

  • Baidu (largest internet search engine in China)
  • Ubtech Robotics (humanoid robot development)
  • DJI (aerial vehicles company)

United Kingdom

According to the Harvard Business Review’s Top Ranked AI Nations (TRAIN) Index, the UK is in third place in the world in terms of AI adoption after the US and China, which makes the country a clear AI leader in Europe. As International Trade Administration’s notices, the UK has one of the best AI strategies globally with extensive government support, academic activity, major venture capital funding, AI startups, and enterprise adoption.

The UK is home to a business called DeepMind, an AI research lab that operates in London. DeepMind, now part of Google (Google DeepMind), is a technology that brings new ideas and advances in machine learning, engineering, mathematics and computer science to the world. 

Other well-known AI companies in the UK include Darktrace, a cybersecurity company which uses AI to give businesses the capacity to instantly identify risks originating from the cloud and Octopus Energy, a renewable energy group which incorporates AI to do the work of 250 people. Undoubtedly, the UK is one of the most forward-thinking nations in artificial intelligence.

Companies to watch:

  • Babylon (health service provider)
  • Wayve (engineering and software development company)
  • PeakAI (AI adoption company)


Germany is a country that is well-known for its high-tech innovations. Thus, it makes it one of the best countries in terms of AI research. 

Germany’s ‘Cyber Valley’, as the largest artificial intelligence research cooperative in Europe is attracting plenty of international interest. Located near Stuttgart and Tübingen, the area was created in 2016 through a collaboration between the Max Planck Society, a number of universities and major companies, including Facebook. Currently, its industry partners include Amazon, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Bosch.

Companies to watch:

  • Volocopter (autonomous drone and AI mobility provider)
  • Siemens (industrial AI and IoT solutions automation company)
  • Ada Health (AI personalised health)


Western Switzerland is at the centre of artificial intelligence development thanks to its specialised research centres. This effort stimulates innovation across several areas and advances the field.

Switzerland is home to internationally known AI research centres and institutions. Global tech giants like Google, IBM, and HPE conduct a large part of their research from this country because of its close proximity to cutting-edge research. Furthermore, Switzerland is home to Google’s largest development hub outside of California. The hub is located in Zurich, where it employs around 5,000 people. Google hopes to expand this centre even more in the upcoming years.

Companies to watch:

  • AVA (AI medical technology)
  • (computer vision online tool for businesses)
  • MindMaze (neuro-inspired computing technology)


France is a significant country in the AI race. Major AI research facilities from corporations like Google, Facebook, and Samsung are located in France, which boasts a robust technological industry. According to Campus France, President Macron outlined a financial and action plan to support people and organisations in AI.

In March 2023, there were over 600 AI startups in France. Additionally, France is planning more alignments between national AI strategies, investments and EU AI policies with two other prominent EU members (Poland and Germany), according to Science Business. These countries united together on 23rd of January this year to announce the ‘Weimar Triangle’ strategic alliance for AI. 

Companies to watch:

  • Exotec (robots and smart automation solutions)
  • Mistral AI (generative AI platform)
  • HuggingFace (machine learning (ML) and data science platform)


According to Salesforce’s Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index (2023), Singapore has become the most advanced country in the Asia Pacific region for overall AI preparation. The country presented its first National AI Strategy in 2019 with intentions to further integrate AI to revolutionise its economy. Singapore’s initial investment in AI resulted in the creation of 900 AI startups and approximately 150 teams dedicated to research and development. 

As part of our continuous effort to lead, this country introduced the Singapore National AI Strategy 2.0 (NAIS 2.0) in 2023.

Companies to watch:

  • Advance.AI (AI digital solutions)
  • Eureka Robotics (AI-powered robotics)
  • Hypotenuse AI (AI writing assistant)

Other AI Economies

It’s worth noting other countries are also making strides in AI. In Europe, after the UK, Germany and France, there are the Nordics. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland are advanced users of AI. As per Statista, less than 5% of companies in the Nordic region do not use artificial intelligence, while over a third view it as essential to their daily operations. 

Another big player in the international AI race is Canada, which has invested $8.64 billion into AI, with $2.57 billion between 2022 and 2023. Other countries that are rapidly developing their AI ecosystems are Israel in the Middle East and India, Japan and South Korea in Asia. But regardless of where the technology is being developed, one thing is certain: AI is already here, and it will grow bigger. With companies like OpenAI, DeepMind or Volocopter, the future seems ground-breaking. Already, OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, just launched its new innovation – SORA, a text-to-video tool. Will it beat the chatbot’s popularity? 

Citizens all over the world should be aware of the risks and benefits of AI, and the impact it will have on their lives.

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