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China Over AI: Disney’s Attempt to Help has Put Tech Community in Danger

  /  Artificial Intelligence   /  China Over AI: Disney’s Attempt to Help has Put Tech Community in Danger

China Over AI: Disney’s Attempt to Help has Put Tech Community in Danger

China to dominate AI over other conventional rivals, but why is Disney+Hotstar helping?


The advantages of China to dominate AI and machine learning are areas that the government has prioritized over traditional Western rivals like the United States. Oddly enough, one of the big companies in media and entertainment is lined up to take advantage of this push, Disney + Hotstar in India, which is rapidly gaining new AI talent from its Beijing office.

The streaming service is offering discounted or free access to Disney’s theme parks and resorts to young talent willing to crunch the enormous amounts of data generated by Hotstar’s millions of viewers, most of whom are in India and Southeast Asia. Former and current Hotstar employees in India refused to discuss the activities of the subsidiary, and the company declined the request to comment on the business. Hotstar India’s privacy policy reserves the right to share user data with “affiliates around the world.

In 2017, the Chinese government announced that it aims to become a “global innovation hub” for artificial intelligence by 2030, with a target revenue of US$147.8 billion from the industry. The Chinese university system soon began to focus on AI courses, for example in 2021 with the addition of six or more undergraduate courses were focused on this topic. China is to dominate AI to drive vast surveillance, but its goal is to overwhelm geopolitical rivals by targeting companies looking to leverage big data and machine learning. It also envisioned enriching useful private companies.


But, where does Disney + Hotstar comes in? 

Disney + Hotstar is not available in China, but operating streaming services in China is rarely given to foreign companies but has shown a keen interest in leveraging China’s ambitious technology priorities. Artificial intelligence business leaders from all sectors have gathered in China, as the country has far exceeded expectations in several areas, especially in technology.

Big data analysis (processing and analysis of large amounts of information) is an important component in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s also an industry where services like Hotstar can greatly benefit. With catalogs that span sports (IPL), original movies and shows, large regional movie libraries, data, and more about why users spend so much time on the platform is becoming invaluable to the business.

Hotstar Beijing currently has 45 positions, effectively doubling its current staff. From business-related roles such as advertising, payments, and subscriptions to more technical roles such as software development, if you stick to the services outlined in Disney’s. Hotstar Beijing’s activities are a significant part of the platform’s activities. Many roles require AI expertise.

Hotstar India paid Rs 6.23 billion to NGC China Ltd, a subsidiary of Beijing-based NGC China in 2020. This mainly corresponds to labor costs. That’s about 3.7% of Hotstar’s annual spending this year. However, for example, all of the company’s tech blog posts are written by developers working in India, so the company doesn’t really promote its presence in China.

There is no data protection law in India, so companies like Hotstar do not need to disclose when sending user data to foreign companies. It is unclear if there is an imminent risk of processing Hotstar user data in Beijing. But the company is probably discouraged by the strict data protection requirements since the GDPR came into force in the European Union in 2018 until the recent message that it takes time to comply with the GDPR. Hotstar was not available in this area. 

Whatever the risk, Hotstar’s underrated business in Beijing is fueling the confluence of Disney and  Chinese government interests. It provides a relatively affordable talent pool for AI and machine learning capabilities, sifting through a huge pile of data generated by 100 million users and perhaps on a smaller scale, to create demand for China’s state-owned impetus to become an AI superpower.