Alibaba Group will set up a chip subsidiary and aims to launch its first self-developed AI inference chip in the second half of 2019 targeting autonomous driving, smart cities and logistic markets, Reuters reported.
The Chinese firm said the new subsidiary would make customised AI chips and embedded processors to support the firm’s push into fast-growing cloud and internet of things (IoT) businesses.
Alibaba’s drive to develop its own semiconductors comes as China’s government looks to raise the quality of home-made chips to help propel high-tech domestic industries from cutting-edge transport to AI healthcare systems.
In April, Alibaba bought a Chinese microchip maker Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems to help bolster its cloud-based IoT business.
Jack Ma, Alibaba co-founder and chairman, said then that China needed to control its “core technology” like chips to avoid over-reliance on U.S. imports, something which has been put in the spotlight by whipsawing trade tensions.
Alibaba Group reported revenue of RMB80,920 million or $12.229 billion (+61 percent) in the June quarter of 2018.
Alibaba generated revenue $10.456 billion (+61 percent) from e-commerce business, $710 million (+93 percent) from cloud computing, $903 million (+46 percent) from digital media and entertainment and $160 million (+64 percent) from innovation initiatives.