Skip to main content

Alibaba is building its own AI cloud computing chip

(Image credit: Image Credit: Flickr / leighklotz)

Chinese retail giant Alibaba is building its own artificial intelligence chip to power proprietary cloud offerings (opens in new tab).

The Hanguang 800 chip is being used it for product search, automatic translation and personalisation within Alibaba itself. Further down the road, however, the chip will be used to power the company’s cloud computing offerings.

“The launch of Hanguang 800 is an important step in our pursuit of next-generation technologies, boosting computing capabilities that will drive both our current and emerging businesses while improving energy-efficiency,” Alibaba CTO Jeff Zhang said in a statement.

Right now, the company isn’t planning on selling the chip as a standalone commercial product. It was built by DAMO Academy, Alibaba’s (opens in new tab)two years old research institute, and T-Head, its semiconductor division.

Domestically, Alibaba is the king of the cloud infrastructure services market, with a 47 per cent share for the first quarter of the year. Globally, however, it is an entirely different story, as it has to compete with the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM.

According to Gartner, Amazon kept almost half (47.8 per cent) of the global IaaS public cloud services market share last year, while Alibaba (opens in new tab)was third with a total of 7.7 per cent share.

Sead Fadilpašić
Sead Fadilpašić

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.