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China is accumulating a growing share of the world's data library

Data: International Data Corporation; Chart: Chris Canipe

The world’s data is estimated to balloon to 5 times its size between 2018 and 2025, a result of companies’ increasingly frantic data collection for marketing, personalization, and training AI systems.

Why it matters: China’s data trove is growing particularly fast — 3% faster than the global average. This is an enormous asset for Chinese AI companies, which can use it to train more accurate facial recognition algorithms, or develop a nationwide “social credit” scoring system.