Alibaba Group Holding Ltd – the China-based e-commerce giant – has released a $15 billion drive to build overseas research and development hubs. The e-commerce company is an online retailing company that can easily afford this sum, mostly because it wants to compete in the e-commerce market with online retailing giant like Amazon.
Alibaba to compete with global leaders in cloud tech and e-commerce
The China-based e-commerce company is looking to compete with worldwide leaders in logistics, cloud technology and e-commerce. The Alibaba ‘Damo’ academy would launch eight research bases in the United States, Russia, Israel, Singapore and China. Also, the Chinese online retailing giant said in a statement on Wednesday that the ‘Damo’ academy was hiring over 100 researchers to work on fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum computing.
Jeff Zhang, the Chief Technology Officer of Alibaba Corp., said “The Alibaba DAMO Academy will be at the forefront of developing next-generation technology that will spur the growth of Alibaba and our partners.” In the past year, the China-based e-commerce company and its affiliates have gone through a rapid expansion, which has brought the company in direct competition with the United States-based online retailer Amazon.com Inc. This has also brought the company in competition with cloud, global payments and logistics firms.
The e-commerce giant has invested over $2 billion since last year to acquire a majority stake in Lazada.com, which is a Singapore-based retailer. The online retailing company, with its partnership with payment affiliate Ant Financial, has created a network of e-commerce hubs across Southeast Asia.
Here’s why Alibaba is investing in R&D
The e-commerce company has pursued a $1.2 billion bid as well for MoneyGram – the U.S.-based money transfer service – but the deal is still pending and has not been finalized yet. Some critics have said that this deal poses a national security threat.
The China-based online retailer has not just opened a data science research lab in California but also opened new data centers in the Middle East, India, Indonesia, Japan, the United States, Europe, and Australia since last year in a bid to expand its cloud business. The e-commerce giant says that it has over 25K engineers on staff currently and the new research infrastructure will assist them in meeting a goal of 2 billion customers within two decades.
Beijing has prioritized state funding in artificial intelligence (AI), big data and quantum computing and has urged universities, private firms, the provincial governments as well as the military to play an important role in developing advanced technology in places where the country (China) trails developed countries – this has encouraged the e-commerce giant to invest the amount in R&D as well.