The United States government is intensifying scrutiny on G42, an artificial intelligence firm controlled by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), amid concerns that the company may be concealing the extent of its collaboration with China, according to anonymous sources. According to a report by The New York Times, American intelligence agencies, including the CIA, have issued warnings about G42’s partnerships with Chinese companies deemed security threats, such as Huawei, raising fears that the firm could serve as a conduit for transferring advanced American technology to China. The Biden administration has reportedly pressured the UAE to sever ties with Chinese entities, with the prospect of sanctions looming over G42.
The CIA, in particular, has reportedly compiled a classified profile of G42’s CEO, Peng Xiao. Educated in the United States, Peng Xiao renounced his American citizenship for Emirati citizenship, adding a layer of complexity to the intelligence assessments. While the details of the CIA document remain undisclosed, it underscores the significance attached to G42’s activities and its leadership.
The UAE, seeking to diversify its economy beyond oil income, has invested heavily in G42 as a cornerstone of its artificial intelligence industry. While G42 publicly announces collaborations with Western companies, including AstraZeneca and OpenAI, classified intelligence reports allege more dubious dealings with Chinese firms. The CIA has reportedly produced a classified profile of G42’s CEO, Peng Xiao, who relinquished American citizenship for Emirati citizenship, though the document’s conclusions remain undisclosed.
The Biden administration, aware of the potential risks, has embarked on a diplomatic campaign, urging the UAE to sever ties between G42 and Chinese entities. High-level discussions between U.S. and UAE officials have taken place, including a White House meeting in June between the UAE’s secretive national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, and his American counterpart, Jake Sullivan. During these engagements, concerns were raised about G42’s leadership and its collaboration with Chinese firms, with the Biden administration even pointing to the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Emirati firm.
G42, with its diverse portfolio encompassing a $10 billion technology investment fund, an Arabic language A.I. model, a tech talent platform, a health care company, and a genome-sequencing program, is a key player in the UAE’s ambitious artificial intelligence industry. The company’s investments overseas, including a $100 million purchase of shares in ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, have raised eyebrows in international business and diplomatic circles.
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