The research and development (R&D) unit leading the initiative, set to spend the money over three years, the Wall Street Journal says (paywall), is called the Alibaba Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook (DAMO).
It will fund research into a broad range of areas, including data intelligence, the Internet of Things, fintech, quantum computing, human-machine interaction, machine learning and natural language processing.
The planned investment compares to the United States dollars 6.4 billion the company spent on R&D over the past three fiscal years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The initial pool of 100 researchers and scientists will be recruited from all over the world. Spheres in which it focuses include machine self-learning and network security.
The Chinese e-commerce company is launching a major funding drive to create research hubs. The company announced the investment to raise collaboration and develop innovative technologies on October 11, 2017. Speaking along the same lines, Alibaba is also planning to establish seven new research laboratories in Hangzhou, Beijing, Tel Aviv, San Mateo, Singapore, Moscow, and Bellevue.
"The labs will help solve issues that Alibaba is now facing across its business lines", Alibaba chief technology officer Jeff Zhang (張建鋒) said in a telephone interview.
ALIBABA surpassed its U.S. counterpart Amazon as the world's biggest e-commerce company yesterday as the Hangzhou-based company reached the threshold of US$470 billion in market value.
The Chinese company looked to carry out a similar strategy 10 years ago, but Ma stated Alibaba wasn't in the same position as it is today and not ready to take on the challenges. With our global expansion, we have grown and refined our technology manifold. "We are now looking for talented and driven researchers to join us in the quest for new disruptive technologies that would advance our every-day lives, benefit small businesses and narrow the technology gap to make our world a more inclusive place", Zhang added.