Alibaba injects $15bn into IoT, FinTech & Quantum Computing

Alibaba launches research arm for AI, quantum computing, and other emerging tech

Alibaba is investing $15 billion in R&D over 3 years

Over the next three years the group intends to fund projects in data intelligence, Internet of Things, financial technology (or fintech) and quantum computing. To start, the academy will open seven labs - two in China, two in the US, and others in Russia, Israel and Singapore - which will focus on "both foundational and disruptive technology" research.

The e-commerce giant said the global research program is called Alibaba DAMO Academy, which stands for "Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook". Spheres in which it focuses include machine self-learning and network security. All of the facilities will be overseen by an advisory board consisting of some of the best researchers and professors at leading universities, including MIT.

As reported by Bloomberg, the company shared its plans in an emailed statement, shortly after Chief Technical Officer Jeff Zhang made the announcement at the company's Computing Conference 2017 in Hangzhou, China. The additional R&D investment is designed to help the business deliver on its goal of serving 2 billion customers and create 100 million job opportunities in 20 years. For example, Alibaba will work with the University of California, Berkeley's Real-Time Intelligent Secure Execution lab (RISELab) on its work into secure computing. "We are now looking for talented and driven researchers to join us in the quest for new disruptive technologies that would advance our everyday lives, benefit small businesses and narrow the technology gap to make our world a more inclusive place", Zhang said.

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The Chinese giant and its affiliates have undergone a rapid expansion in the past year, bringing it into direct competition with U.S. e-retailer Amazon.com Inc., as well as global payments, cloud and logistics firms.

Performing research will help Alibaba stay on top of the latest technology developments, something that will be important as the company competes to be a global power in the industry.

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