Xi Jinping. (Lintao Zhang/Getty)
Xi Jinping is the president of China and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, making him the most powerful man in the country.
Xi, who came to power in 2012, has led nation-wide initiatives to strengthen China's domestic technology sector, where he's focused particularly on artificial intelligence. His encouragement and state-led investment in facial recognition and autonomous driving technology positions the country to be among the market leaders in AI.
His ambitions also embrace increasingly draconian forms of civilian control, however. Under his watch, China's surveillance aparatus has been strengthened by facial recognition technology and used to track and subjugate members of the country's Uighur Muslim minority. He has also championed the country's growing social credit system, which will seek to track and monitor citizens' personal and professional lives and affect their standing in society.
China's giant, data-rich population and government-run economy make it a unique competitor in the global AI development race.