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Alibaba Group to invest in global R&D programs
October 15, 2017, 4:13 pm

Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group announced last week that it plans to invest more than $15 billion over the next three years into a global research and development (R&D) initiative called Alibaba DAMO Academy. The initiative, aimed at creating technological collaboration worldwide, is expected to help the company reach its goal of serving two billion customers and creating 100 million jobs by 2036.

DAMO, which stands for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook will be led by Alibaba Group chief technology officer Jeff Zhang and would initially recruit over 100researchers. The Academy plans to open laboratories in seven cities around the world: Beijing and Hangzhou in China; San Mateo and Bellevue in the U.S.; Moscow, Russia; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Singapore.

The Academy’s current advisory board includes professors from Princeton, Harvard, MIT, the University of Washington, Columbia University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Peking University and Zhejiang University. Research will focus on a wide array of areas, including data intelligence, the Internet of Things, financial tech, quantum computing and human-machine interaction.

Alibaba now joins other major Chinese tech firms, such as Huawei, Baidu and Tencent, in setting up labs and working closely with technology researchers and universities in the US and other countries. These programs give companies the benefit of dipping into new talent pools without having to convince potential hires to move to China, and also potentially luring them away from rivals like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple.

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