In fear of dependency on Western hardware, Alibaba has set up a semiconductor division
Similar to the state’s concerns, Tencent’s and Alibaba’s Ma’s have expressed their fear of western dependency when it comes to core technologies.
“If we do not master the core technologies, we will be building roofs on other people’s walls and planting vegetables in other people’s yards.”
– Jack Ma (CEO Alibaba)
“China’s digital economy will be a high-rise built on sand and hard to sustain if we don’t continue to work hard on basic research and key knowledge, not to mention the transformation from old to new forms of drivers or high-quality development.”
– Pony Ma (CEO Tencent)
In reaction, Alibaba’s R&D arm DAMO (Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook) has set up its own semiconductor manufacturing business and unveiled its chip in July 2019. The chip is designed to process AI tasks such as image, video and voice analysis and will be used for tasks such as autonomous driving, smart cities and smart logistics.