Elon Musk speaks via video during the opening ceremony of the 2023 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China, July 6, 2023.

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Elon Musk believes that China is in a strong position in the development of artificial intelligence and that the country will “be good at anything it wants to do”.

Speaking via video at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Thursday, tesla The CEO doesn’t hesitate when it comes to praising certain aspects of the world’s second-largest economy.

“I think China has a lot of very smart, very talented people,” he said. “I have always had great admiration for the talent and drive of China.”

“So I think China is really going to do pretty well with anything it wants to do,” Musk added.

“So that includes, you know, many different sectors, sectors of the economy, and AI. So, I think China is going to have a very strong AI capability — that’s my prediction.”

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Musk has significant business interests in China. Tesla sells electric cars there and operates a massive factory in Shanghai. In May, he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

In the past, he has praised Chinese automakers, calling them “the most competitive in the world”. In 2020, he stated that “in my opinion, China is shocking”.

Musk’s latest comments come against a backdrop of tensions between the U.S. and China in the tech sector.

In 2022, Washington imposed sweeping restrictions on exports of key chips and semiconductor equipment to China. The move could thwart Beijing’s efforts to boost the development of key domestic technology industries. But industry analysts believe that despite Washington’s attempts to cut ties with China, Chinese chipmakers will continue to develop their own advanced semiconductors.

Interest in artificial intelligence and its potentially transformative impact on society has grown in recent years. Chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT have garnered a lot of attention over the past year, alongside discussions about whether artificial intelligence poses a broader threat to humanity.

—CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report

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