The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced yesterday that it plans to spend $15 billion over just the next three years to set up a research and development academy called ‘Damo.’ The academy will consist of eight research bases in China, Israel, the United States, Russia and Singapore and will focus on developing artificial intelligence, quantum computing and fintech. “The Alibaba DAMO Academy will be at the forefront of developing next-generation technology that will spur the growth of Alibaba and our partners”, Chief Technology Officer Jeff Zhang said.
It’s About the East
As contrast, Amazon invested $16 billion in technology research and development last year alone. While Baidu’s investment is significant, it is more to keep pace with its Eastern competitors rather than those in the West. Rivals like Tencent and Baidu are ramping up their own investments in artificial technology and all three companies, of course, have launched rival smart speakers in the Chinese market. It is easy to see Alibaba as Amazon’s competitor here in the US, but Alibaba’s recent investment is more about developing technology to improve every aspect of its business portfolio, from its cloud storage solution to its ride hailing app, to stay ahead of the local competition.