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Alibaba to invest $15B in global R&D hubs

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will invest more than $15 billion over three years to build global research hubs, as the Chinese e-commerce giant looks to further its growth with new technologies.

The DAMO Academy — or the Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook — will open seven research and development labs in the Chinese cities of Beijing and Hangzhou; San Mateo, Calif.; Bellevue, Wash.; Moscow; Tel Aviv; and Singapore.

The labs will focus on areas including data intelligence, the internet of things, financial technology, quantum computing and human-machine interaction, with specific topics ranging from machine learning to network security, visual computing and natural language processing.

The academy is looking to hire 100 researchers globally and will collaborate with tech talent and academic institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley. It will also set up an advisory board of educators and researchers from institutions including Princeton University, Columbia University and Peking University.

Jeff Zhang, Alibaba's chief technology officer, who will head the academy, said: "We aim to discover breakthrough technologies that will enable greater efficiency, network security and ecosystem synergy for end-users and businesses everywhere."