The previous world record of 10 was also held by the same team, so it would appear that the Chinese are doing a lot better than other researchers in moves towards large-scale quantum computing. This is also the same research team which holds the world record on quantum communication distance as well as operating the world's first quantum communication satellite.
According to a recent study published in the journal Physical Review Letters, physicist Pan Jianwei and his colleagues achieved the new record by simultaneously exploiting three different degrees of freedom-paths, polarisation and orbital angular momentum of six photons, the fundamental particle of light.
The outcome combination resulted in a stable 18-qubit state. Full control over the number of entangled particles determines the fundamental ability for quantum information processing, according to the study.
There are early-stage quantum computers out there that argue more qubits -- such as IBM's 50-qubit machine and Google's 72-qubit Bristlecone, but in those cases, the individual quantum states of the qubits aren't fully controllable.
Wang Xilin, a member of the team said that the next next step will be to realise a 50-qubit entanglement and manipulation.