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Chinese AI Company iFlyTek Asks U.S. to Lift Export Ban So It Can Buy Medical Supplies

By Ding Yi / Feb 11, 2020 02:01 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese artificial intelligence company iFlyTek has filed a request with U.S. authorities to exempt it from a trade blacklist. The exemption would enable it to buy medical supplies to help fight the novel coronavirus which has broken out in China, the firm said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Monday.

In October 2019, iFlyTek and several other Chinese tech firms were placed on the so-called U.S. Entity List, barring them from purchasing products and services from American companies.

According to the filing, iFlyTek has commissioned a U.S.-based law firm to submit a written application to the U.S. Department of Commerce, with the hope that the agency will approve its request on humanitarian grounds, so iFlyTek can buy American-made medical products as part of its charitable donations to the areas worst-hit by the virus.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began spreading across China in January, many of the country’s tech companies, ranging from big names to lesser-known startups, have donated money and medical resources to regions plagued by the disease, which has so far caused over 1,000 deaths and infected more than 42,000 people.

Apart from handing out 10 million yuan worth of medical supplies to heavily impacted regions, iFlyTek has also applied its artificial intelligence technology to help combat the virus. The company’s technology is being used to screen for patients infected with the coronavirus, track the virus’ spread and enable students, who have been forced to stay home due to the outbreak, to continue their studies via e-learning platforms.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese Tech Firms Pitching In on Battle Against Coronavirus


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