Alibaba Invests More Into AI Further Passing Walmart

Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, has just announced a dedication of $15 billion to research and development. This $15 billion USD will be used for the following areas: internet of things, data analysis, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence. Alibaba has been reported to have previously spent $3 billion USD a year on research. The $15 billion USD is to provide funding for global research facilities and projects. This funding will be one of the main factors that will aid Alibaba in reaching its goal for 2036, to serve “2 billion customers and creating 100 million jobs.”   Bloomberg’s Lulu Yilun Chen has said that “the e-commerce giant plans to set up seven research labs and hire 100 scientists around the world” for “its global research program the Alibaba DAMO Academy-- short for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook. It will set up labs across China, the U.S., Russia, Israel and Singapore and fund collaborations with universities, including the University of California at Berkeley.” Alibaba is an e-commerce company that specializes in consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer, and business-to-business sales and is well known for its large amount of stock, options, and its affordable prices. It was founded in 1999 during the dot-com bubble. The dot-com bubble was the influx of websites and domain names that have seen the rise of other large household names like eBay and Amazon. At the same time, the dot-com bubble was also a failure for a lot of  companies. However, for the many that survived managed to maintain and grow their business immensely such as Alibaba. The trend of e-commerce business has been responsible for converting many businesses to having an online portal to purchase their products. It has also been responsible for the closings of many brick and mortar stores who cannot compete with the vast array of products and low prices. Although Alibaba is not as widely recognized in America as Amazon and eBay, it is the world’s largest retailer, surpassing even Walmart. Its market value stands at USD$486.27 billion USD, and is the first Asian company to be valued at over $400 billion USD. It’s publicly traded and can stand to make as much as $25 billion in sales in one day, proven on its profit from Singles’ Day. Artificial intelligence already plays a huge role in the way we shop online. E-commerce businesses are implementing artificial intelligence strategies to better understand their consumers. These artificial intelligence systems have been already implemented by big retailers like Nordstrom and The North Face. Artificial intelligence can predict consumer behavior, make suggestions for each individual customer, and can help consumers find the most suitable outfit. Artificial intelligence will consider factors of their consumers, such as weather, the purpose of the outfit, how frequent their consumer will be using the outfit, and the durability that consumers require or want. It can also identify products through its scanning mechanism which is a lot faster than relying on a human customer service representative. This software can comb through more products in a faster amount of time, allowing human customer service representatives to focus on other parts of their jobs that artificial intelligence cannot help with. The dedication of $15 billion USD will set a precedent for companies trying to mirror their image after Alibaba in hopes of achieving a similar amount of success and growth. In the near future, all consumers may be aided with artificial intelligence when shopping and it will be implemented into their daily lives.   Original Sources: Bloomberg & The Verge Image: