A new global research and development program has been announced by Alibaba, with a huge investment being made from the company over the next three years.
The new research and development project, named Alibaba DAMO Academy, short for Academy for Discover, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, will receive a $15bn investment across a global research program that increases collaboration and development of new technologies around the world.
It will be carried out over the next three years, with Alibaba looking to hire 100 researchers from around the world to build partnership and open research labs.
Research labs will be opened across seven cities around the world, focusing on research into data intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), fintech and quantum computing. In each area, researchers will focus on real-world applications such as machine learning, network security and natural language processing.
Announced at the Computing Conference 2017 in China, Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma discussed his thoughts on the Academy and why it is a good approach to the future.
Ma said: “The 21st century needs a 21st century approach to problem solving. With our technology and capital and responsibility, we can build a world-class research institute and if done correctly, it could help 100 billion companies create opportunities and help solve problems for billions of people around the world.”
The Chinese company looked to carry out a similar strategy 10 years ago, but Ma stated Alibaba wasn’t in the same position as it is today and not ready to take on the challenges.
In agreement, Chief Technology Officer Jeff Zhang outlined Alibaba has developed and now has the power and resources to fulfil the aims of the strategy today.
Zhang 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 researchers to join us in the quest for new disruptive technologies that would advance out everyday lives.”
Ma added that Alibaba will by example of IBM and Microsoft’s research labs to effectively carry out the program, but work their way to society on their ‘own path’.