Alibaba doubles research spending to $15bn as it hunts for game-changers

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Over the next three years the group intends to fund projects in data intelligence, Internet of Things, financial technology (or fintech) and quantum computing.

"The labs will help solve issues that Alibaba is now facing across its business lines", Jeff Zhang, Alibaba's chief technology officer, said in a telephone interview.

The DAMO Academy aims to attract world-class talent in such areas as quantum computing, machine learning, basic algorithms and network security.

The research programme will be headed by Alibaba's Chief Technology Officer, Jeff Zhan, and has been named DAMO Academy, or the Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook.

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Along with an existing data science research lab in California, Alibaba has opened new data centers in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, Australia, Japan, India and Indonesia since 2016, in a bid to boost its cloud business. In addition, the Academy is now looking to recruit 100 talented researchers from around the world.

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".

Zhang, who will lead the academy, said in a prepared statement that the research program will be "at the forefront of developing next-generation technology that will spur the growth of Alibaba and our partners".

After 831 days, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. regained the title of the world's biggest e-commerce company, albeit briefly.

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The Academy is the first major global initiative to focus on developing the global technological capabilities and infrastructure that will enable Alibaba to fulfill its commitment to serve 2 billion customers and create 100 million job opportunities in 20 years.

Alibaba now has 25,000 engineers on staff, it says, and says the new research infrastructure will help them meet a goal of two billion customers within two decades.

The program, Alibaba said, will be guided by an advisory board comprising researchers and educators from several top universities, including MIT.

Alibaba Group's mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere.

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