Silicon Valley may grab the headlines in the West, but some of the most important changes wrought by technology are happening in China, where consumer behaviour has changed dramatically in a short period of time, whether that’s through the daily use of QR codes, the embrace of facial recognition as a payment method – or even the willingness to switch away from centuries-old traditions such as gifting in red envelopes to newer digital means.

Much of this is made possible by Artificial intelligence (AI) which is rapidly maturing and making serious inroads into all aspects of both the business and consumer environment. Baidu, the Chinese tech giant, has been investing heavily in this area and one of the outcomes it envisages as a result is the development of “omni-marketing”.

At dmexco (Cologne, September 2018), Alex Cheng, CTO, Baidu Search, outlined how AI is facilitating what he termed “intelligent actions” in marketing – one of several areas where he believes AI will have an important business role in future, others including social responsibility, user experience and enabling exploration and discovery.