Recently, China’s Alibaba Group Holding revealed that it would begin manufacturing its first-ever self-developed artificial intelligence (AI) chip, particularly in the second half of 2019.
This happened as China-based technology groups continue to boost their efforts to dismiss threats that are posed by the fierce competition between China and the US. The AI inference chip is expected to be used for logistics, smart cities, and self-driving.
Alibaba asserted at an event held in Hangzhou that its new subsidiary would develop embedded processors and customized artificial intelligence (AI) chips for supporting the Chinese company ’s push into the rapidly growing Internet of Things and cloud enterprises.
What ’s more, Alibaba told the audience in the conference that the chips and processors would be used in providing solutions such as developers of self-driving vehicles to other businesses.
In the meantime, the e-commerce group based in Hangzhou has grown the development of its quantum processors, which make up a vital component required for supercomputers.
Alibaba’s aggressive push to create its semiconductors comes amid China’s government endeavor to boost the quality of home-made chips to aid in propelling high-technology domestic industries, primarily from advanced transport to artificial intelligence (AI) healthcare systems.
“Alibaba has been a leading technology innovator in cloud computing and artificial intelligence since we announced our determination to transform into a technology powerhouse two years ago,” said the company’s Chief Technology Officer Jeff Zhang.
“Moving ahead, we are confident that our advantages in the algorithm, data intelligence, computing power and domain knowledge on the back of Alibaba’s diverse ecosystem will put us in a unique position to lead real technology breakthroughs in disruptive areas, such as quantum and chip technology,” said Zhang.
In recent years, most Chinese companies have boosted their global value chain, particularly by shifting from looking for innovative business models to attaining the desired traction in deep technology.
For starters, Huawei Technology has been viewed by various analysts as a leader in the building of 5G technology, which would create the foundation of future wireless gear. Furthermore, Baidu has also made a notable advancement in the creation of autonomous vehicles.
Alibaba’s move also comes at a time when there are existing trade tensions between Beijing and Washington that are owed to casting a shadow over the Chinese technology companies of the future.
Furthermore, analysts say that Chinese companies, which have attained the necessary technical know-how through investing in Silicon Valley-based startups, currently face regulatory obstacles amid protectionists efforts in the United States aimed at preventing such investment.
Jack Ma Yun, the billionaire co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, told an audience of students at Waseda University in Tokyo earlier this year: “the market of chips is controlled by America … and suddenly they stop selling. Japan, China, any country should have its own technology. A company should take responsibility for its customers, for the global future.”
Back in April, Alibaba acquired Hangzhou C-Sky Microsystems, a Chinese microchip developer, in an effort to boost its cloud-based IoT enterprise. Furthermore, its co-founder and chairperson Jack Ma claimed then that China required to control its (core technology) such as chips in a bid to avert over-dependence on US imports.