Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s cloud computing arm is breaking into the artificial intelligence market, launching what the company is proclaiming to be “China’s first AI platform”, which will give developers the capacity to analyse large amounts of data.
Cloud computing division Aliyun is Alibaba’s fastest-growing division, and although the company still gets most of its profits from e-commerce, the latest quarterly results showed Aliyun’s revenue leaping 106 per cent over the year, flying in the face of China's economic troubles.
In July, the company announced a further $1bn push into cloud computing, as it plans to take on competition from the likes of Amazon and expand into international markets.
Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang said then that this was “just the beginning”:
Aliyun has become a world-class cloud computing service platform that is the market leader in China, bearing the fruits of our investment over the past six years.
The artificial intelligence platform will combine algorithms with deep learning techniques, and will be used to predict industry trends and user behaviour.
Alibaba faces stiff competition from other tech giants’ cloud computing services, though, as Amazon Web Services, also expanding rapidly, just launched an AI platform of its own in April.