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Baidu has entered the race to build quantum computers

March 8, 2018

The Chinese tech giant lags its peers in quantum computing but hopes to incorporate the technology into its business in the next five years.

The news: Baidu announced today that it will launch a quantum computing institute. It will be led by Runyao Duan, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, with the aim of building devices that can be used in other parts of the business over the next five years.

Why it matters: Quantum computers hold immense potential and could perform calculations that today’s supercomputers can't. China is pushing hard to ensure it's at the cutting edge of their development, with its National Laboratory for Quantum Information Science funded to the tune of $16 billion over the next five years.

But: Baidu faces fierce competition, at home and abroad. Alibaba and Tencent have launched quantum computing research arms recently. And in America, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, and Google are all trying to build similar devices—the latter two, particularly, with increasing success.

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