Alibaba sets up seven-lab research programme with $15bn budget
12 October 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
Alibaba is setting up an innovation programme that will increase its research and development budget to $15 billion over the next three years
The programme will have seven research labs, of which there will be two each in China and the US, and will be advised by 10 Chinese and US academics.
“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, the CTO of Alibaba, whose turnover in the year to March 2017 was the equivalent of $23 billion, having risen by more than 50% in the year.
The programme is called the Alibaba Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook (DAMO), and Zhang will lead the project. “The Alibaba DAMO Academy will be at the forefront of developing next-generation technology that will spur the growth of Alibaba and our partners,” he said.
“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. We are now looking for talented and driven researchers to join us in the quest for new disruptive technologies that would advance our every-day lives, benefit small businesses and narrow the technology gap to make our world a more inclusive place.”
The company will set up labs in Moscow, Tel Aviv and Singapore as well as in Beijing and Hangzhou in China and San Mateo and Bellevue in the US. “The Academy is currently looking to recruit 100 talented researchers from around the world,” said Alibaba.
They will focus on both foundational and disruptive technology research including data intelligence, internet of things, financial technology, quantum computing and human-machine interaction.
Within those broad research areas, said Alibaba in a statement, the labs will focus on topics such as machine learning, network security, visual computing and natural language processing.