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Alibaba Group to focus on customized AI chips and embedded processors

The manufacturing industry will be facing a major shift in the future to be better incorporated with service and shopping experiences, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said. 
Ti Gong

The Computing Conference, which is the largest conference to showcase Alibaba Group's technology updates and new business initiatives, attracted 120,000 participants today as it enters its 10th year.  

Alibaba Group will focus on customized AI chips and embedded processors to further support its growing cloud and IoT businesses, Alibaba chief executive officer Daniel Zhang told the computing conference in Hangzhou today.  

New technology will be the key driver of the e-commerce giant's new business initiatives in the future, and the leveraging of cutting edge technologies to make businesses more efficient and life more enjoyable.

"The manufacturing industry will be facing a major shift in the future to be better incorporated with service and shopping experiences to cater to consumer demand," Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said. 

"Data will be an indispensable means of production, as electricity was in the past," he added. 

China's largest e-commerce giant is to continue new initiatives and new ventures through the adoption of cutting edge technologies to fuel the growth of the economy by enabling other industries to adopt new technologies to shift towards the digital economy. 

The Computing Conference, which is the largest conference to showcase Alibaba's technology updates and new business initiatives, attracted 120,000 participants today as it enters its 10th year.  

Alibaba will be combining their chip research capability at the DAMO Academy with Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems Co Ltd, an integrated circuit design house it acquired earlier this year.   

It aims to launch its first self-developed artificial intelligence inference chip, to be called Ali-NPU, in the second half year of 2019. It has the potential to be used in autonomous driving, urban management and logistics. 

"We're still lagging behind developed countries in terms of core chip technology, but we have the potential to catch up with our counterparts in sectors such as Internet of Things," Ma added. 

The move comes amid China's campaign to gain self-reliance in key technologies, such as integrated circuit design and manufacturing. 

"We're confident that our advantages in algorithm, data intelligence, computing power and domain knowledge will put us in a unique position to lead real technology breakthroughs in areas such as quantum and chip technology,” Alibaba Chief Technology Officer Jeff Zhang said.

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