Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba is ramping up investment in research and development of next-generation technologies including superfast quantum computers and artificial intelligence chips, the Financial Times reports.
According to the FT, the announcement reflects the increasing rivalry between the United States and China. Alibaba’s areas of focus are very close to those of IBM.
Several Chinese companies have announced plans to focus on developing upstream technologies such as semiconductors in recent months. The main trigger was the US’s ban on telecom firm ZTE in April, reversed a few months later, which shocked many in China and was seen as a warning of the risks of being too reliant on America for key components.
Alibaba hopes to release its first AI chip next year. According to the company, its efforts are mainly aimed at strengthening its own cloud computing and internet of things businesses, but the technology will also be offered to third parties.