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Alibaba launches first AI-dedicated research centre outside of China

Nanyang Technological University

Alibaba is set to open its new AI-dedicated research centre in Singapore, its first outside of China.

The research centre is being launched in partnership with the local Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with the facility set to be housed on the university’s campus.

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It is expected that a total of 50 researchers from a combination of Alibaba and NTU will conduct their research within the centre, whilst the AI-centric applications developed there will be tested within both the NTU campus and Singapore as a whole.

Although the exact funding that will be attributed to the research centre has not be disclosed, the company has confirmed that the partnership with the university will be worth millions of dollars.

The project makes up part of the company’s broader Discovery, Adventure Momentum and outlook (DAMO) Research and Development (R&D) fund that Alibaba launched last year. This is set to include seven new research development labs, and $15bn in funding over the course of the next seven years.

The DAMO fund and Alibaba’s increasing emphasis on AI is a key indicator for the market as whole, with the IDC having predicted that by 2021 global spending on AI systems could reach $57.6bn.

The news of Alibaba's new Singapore research centre comes within the same week as Alibaba Cloud launching its technology services across the Europe.

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