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China’s AI Exports: Developing a Tool to Track Chinese Development Finance in the Global South—Technical Documentation

Date Published

Dec 11, 2023


Jennifer Bouey, Lynn Hu, Keller Scholl, William Marcellino, James Gazis, Ammar A. Malik, Kyra Solomon, Sheng Zhang, Andy Shufer


RAND Corporation


Bouey, J., Hu, L., Scholl, K., Marcellino, W., Gazis, J., Malik, A., Solomon, K., Zhang, S., and Shufer, A. 2023. China’s AI Exports: Developing a Tool to Track Chinese Development Finance in the Global South—Technical Documentation. Washington, DC: RAND Corporation.


With average annual commitments reaching $85 billion, the Chinese government is now the world’s largest provider of development financing. Supported by large funding, many Chinese technology companies can deploy state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) tools in development contracts in recipient countries. The AI exports facilitated by these arrangements are likely to bolster China’s growing global AI technology-related supply chains, trade flows, technology standards, and regulatory systems.

This report is the technical documentation for the China’s AI Exports Database (CAIED), which is a tool that tracks Chinese government–supported development finance projects that used or enabled AI technology in the Global South between 2000 and 2017. The goal of the report is to explain the motivation, data source, and methodology of building the tool. This report also presents a detailed codebook for the database and explanations on how to use the interactive world map and country selector. 

CAIED was built on AidData’s Global Chinese Development Finance (GCDF) Dataset version 2.0. Using advanced data mining tools, the authors identified 155 projects enabling AI exports and described their characteristics in rich detail. Users can filter the world map by AI technology categories associated with the development finance projects and learn further details of the exported China AI project by clicking on the country of interest.

Featured Authors

Ammar A. Malik
China Development Finance

Ammar A. Malik

Senior Research Scientist, Director of Tracking Underreported Financial Flows

Kyra Solomon
China Development Finance

Kyra Solomon

Program Manager

Sheng Zhang
China Development Finance

Sheng Zhang

Research Analyst

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