What happened: Zhu Shenghuo, head of Alibaba’s AI-backed Decision Intelligence Lab, will reportedly join Beijing-based startup Aibee. Zhu’s profile has been removed from the Lab’s official site, though neither Alibaba or Aibee has released any announcement. Established under the Alibaba DAMO (Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook) Academy, in which the Alibaba promised in 2017 to invest over RMB100 billion ($14.4 billion) in three years, the Lab aims to bring machine learning to speed up and optimize operation decision-making in key areas including retail, logistics, agriculture, and smart city. Aibee was founded in 2017, backed by investors including ZhenFund and Sequoia Capital.
Why it’s important: Apart from data and other resources needed for machine training, talents are becoming another battlefield. One primary goal Alibaba DAMO Academy is preparing strong R&D forces for key technologies that will determine fundamental infrastructure of contemporary real-life applications – but this is facing challenges from competitors, as both giants and startups are aggressively moving into the game. A week ago, Tencent announced a cooperation agreement with science journal group Nature to help young scientists. On November 13, during the annual Global Education Technology (GET) Summit in Beijing, a sub-forum gave the whole afternoon to seminars discussing talent recruiting and management.