Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Launches Artificial Intelligence Service

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Alibaba’s cloud computing arm Aliyun unveiled “China’s first artificial intelligence platform” on Tuesday. Dubbed DT PAI, the service generates forecasts for industry trends and user behavior, and features drag-and-drop functions. DT PAI product manager Wei Xiao told VentureBeat that the company will launch a free public trial of the service in a few weeks for early users.

DT PAI lets you develop application without having to write code

The artificial intelligence service includes feature engineering and runs Alibaba’s core algorithm. It will also be able to perform deep learning and large-scale machine learning. DT PAI allows developers to bypass the traditional coding by linking standardized modules and setting the specific parameters before the application development.

It relies on Alibaba’s Open Data Processing Service (ODPS), which can process 100 petabytes of data in six hours. Aliyun says that’s equivalent to 100 million HD movies. Xiao said the company’s goal was to create a one-stop AI development, publishing and sharing platform through data. DT PAI would enable developers to create a data application from scratch “within minutes.”

Alibaba said insights from the platform could be used in real life. For example, shoppers would be able to take a photo of a product and be redirected automatically to the product listing on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms. It can also be used in genomic research to sequence genes more quickly, and track weather patterns.

Alibaba may face challenge from Amazon

However, Alibaba’s cloud platform could face stiff competition from Amazon Web Services (AWS), which launched its own artificial intelligence service in April. Aliyun said it would focus on emerging markets, and Chinese companies looking to expand internationally. Last month, Alibaba said it would invest $1 billion in Aliyun over the next three years to expand into major markets including the Middle-East, Japan, the U.S., and Southeast Asia. Last week, Alibaba opened a new cloud data center in Singapore.

Cloud computing is a bright spot for Alibaba as the Chinese e-commerce market mature. Alibaba missed the June quarter revenue estimates, but its cloud revenue skyrocketed 106% YoY to $78 million.

Alibaba shares rose 4.16% to $68.54 at 10:25 AM EDT on Tuesday.



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