Inside U.S. Efforts to Untangle an A.I. Giant’s Ties to China


The United Arab Emirates’ national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, visited the White House and raised concerns about G42, an AI firm controlled by the sheikh that American officials believe is hiding the extent of its work with China. G42 has publicly announced partnerships and impressive growth, but classified intelligence reports indicate concerning ties with Chinese companies and potential risks to American technology and genetic data.


The Biden administration has expressed concerns and pushed for G42 to sever ties with Chinese companies, even suggesting the possibility of sanctions against the Emirati firm. The United States is focused on limiting China’s influence in the Middle East and preventing its advancements in cutting-edge technologies, including AI and quantum computing.


G42, led by CEO Peng Xiao, has partnerships with both Chinese and American companies, raising questions about its intentions and potential security risks. American spy agencies operate in a murky world as they try to discern the connections between foreign companies, China’s military, and security and intelligence agencies. G42’s chairman, Sheikh Tahnoon, is a powerful figure in the Emirates, and his ventures, including G42, have raised concerns within American intelligence agencies in the past.


The deepening ties between China and the UAE, as well as the UAE’s eagerness to buy Chinese military hardware, have alarmed American officials. The Biden administration has confronted the UAE with evidence of China’s military presence in the country and has regularly presented classified information to express concerns about security and technology ties between China and the UAE. Despite concerns raised by the Biden administration, G42 continues to expand and has ambitious plans for the future.



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