Alibaba to launch US$15bn R&D campaign

Jack Ma founder of the Alibaba Group attends the 2017 forum on rural headmasters

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

Other major Chinese tech companies, such as Baidu and Tencent, have in recent years opened research and development labs around the world to develop new technologies.

DAMO stands for "discovery, adventure, momentum and outlook".

"Labs will help solve the problems Alibaba is now facing in its business processes", said Jeff Zhang, chief technology officer at Alibaba.

The first point of focus for the academy will be setting up seven research labs across China, the US, Russia, Israel and Singapore.

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If done right the hope is that the research project could help 100 billion companies create opportunities and help solve problems for billions of people around the world.

In a bid to propel itself into the league of global technology heavyweights, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced the launch of a multibillion-dollar global research programme. They would collaborate with institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley through its RISE Lab.

The program, called Alibaba DAMO Academy, is aimed at increasing technological collaboration globally, advancing the development of "cutting-edge" technology, and making the world more inclusive by "narrowing the technology gap", it said in an announcement on Wednesday. "We aim to discover breakthrough technologies that will enable greater efficiency, network security and ecosystem synergy for end-users and businesses everywhere", said Jeff ZHANG.

"Over the past 18 years, we have developed a robust technology infrastructure that supports the rapid growth of our business". With our global expansion, we have grown and refined our technology manifold.

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Alibaba now has 25,000 engineers on staff, it says, and says the new research infrastructure will help them meet a goal of two billion customers within two decades.

Alibaba now has around 25,000 engineers and scientists on its staff across its multiple businesses of ecommerce, cloud infrastructure, payment and financial services, logistics, marketing services, and digital media. Alibaba's officials have declared that the advisory board members of the research program will comprise educators and researchers from some of the top universities.

Alibaba Group's mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.

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