China's Alibaba launches new research academy,

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The Alibaba Group announced Wednesday it will set up a new research institute and invest over 100 billion yuan (about 15 billion USA dollars) over the next three years in advanced technology development.

Over the next three years the group intends to fund projects in data intelligence, Internet of Things, financial technology (or fintech) and quantum computing.

The first point of focus for the academy will be setting up seven research labs across China, the US, Russia, Israel and Singapore.

The DAMO Academy, short for "Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook", will be led by Alibaba CTO Jeff Zhang.

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It will be carried out over the next three years, with Alibaba looking to hire 100 researchers from around the world to build partnership and open research labs. Within those broad research areas, the researchers will turn their attention to topics such as machine learning, network security, visual computing, natural language processing.

The company said the programme was geared towards advancing the development of cutting-edge technology, but was also an effort to "make the world more inclusive by narrowing the technology gap".

Alibaba, as a company, has also been aiming to convince talented and ambitious researchers to join their program, which would enhance the technical expertise of the program.

After 831 days, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. regained the title of the world's biggest e-commerce company, albeit briefly. With our global expansion, we have grown and refined our technology manifold.

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Alibaba already has 25,000 engineers and scientists on staff and has spent an average 20-billion yuan ($3bn) a year on research, the company said in Wednesday's statement.

Alibaba now has around 25,000 engineers and scientists on its staff across its multiple businesses of ecommerce, cloud infrastructure, payment and financial services, logistics, marketing services, and digital media.

Overseeing the direction of the labs will be an advisory board made up of academics and researchers from Princeton, Harvard, Columbia University, Berkeley, University of Washington and Peking University, Zhejiang University and Beijing Institute of Technology.

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