Alibaba has developed its own new AI chip for cloud computing platform; the company has unveiled it on Wednesday. The chip specializes in machine learning tasks which would be able to automate and enhance the performance of its cloud computing division.
The chip dubbed “Hanguang 800” is the very first developed AI chip by the company Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. The chip is used for powering product search, automatic translation and personalized recommendations on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform.
Alibaba’s CTO Jeff Zhang said in a statement, “It is a very important step in catching up with next-generation technologies with the launch if this AI chip, it will boost the computing capabilities and efficiencies while reducing energy consumption.”
According to a company’s spokesperson, Alibaba has no plans yet to sell its chip commercially, Huawei has also unveiled its new Ascend 910 AI chip which is specifically designed for Smartphones, however, tech giants like Google and Facebook are also developing their own AI chips aimed at enhancing performance at their data centers.
The AI chip was co-developed by DAMO Academy which is a research institute launch by Alibaba in 2017, and T-Head which is Alibaba’s owned subsidiary specializes in semiconductor division.
Alibaba’s efforts into the chip sector got momentum after China’s mission statement to promote its own semiconductor industry and cut the reliance on foreign solutions and imports of core technologies. Alibaba has already released its first core processor IP in July based on RISC-V open-source chip architecture. This chip provides a potential alternative to Britain’s Arm Holdings Inc, which is quite dominant in the market currently.
Alibaba currently holds the top position in China with a 47% market share in cloud infrastructure services during the first quarter of 2019 according to a report published by a research firm Canalys. It was also reported a few months ago that Alibaba is mulling to feature their smart speakers in the world-renowned automobiles including Audi, Renault, and Honda. Alibaba is focused on expanding its AI innovation not only in cloud infrastructure but also in other dominant markets.