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"Artificial intelligence and blockchain are both mentioned in several of China’s government reports recently as important new technologies that will receive support from the country," says Felix Yang, an analyst with the financial advisory firm Kapronasia in Shanghai. Beyond that, he says, "the consumers and businesses became more demanding for services received in recent years."

China had four times as many artificial intelligence-related patent applications and three times as many blockchain and cryptocurrency-related patents as of last year compared to the second-ranked United States, the report says. It had surpassed the United States on both counts by 2015 and the trend became obvious over the next two years. The number of China's blockchain and crypto patents has grown about five times since 2016 to just over 1,500.

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