Is Alibaba Investing in Artificial Intelligence to Compete With Amazon?

Is Alibaba Investing in Artificial Intelligence to Compete With Amazon?

Amazon has been titled as the King of retail e-commerce. However, it seems they may have a competitor in Alibaba. Retail giant has found its ally in Artificial Intelligence.

The contest between the retail ecommerce is getting more interesting. Alibaba is now convinced that its competitor, Bezos’ Alexa-enabled Echo smart speaker is really a very effective way in order to compel more people and repeat online purchases. Jack Ma seems to have now understand why Apple, Google, and Samsung all came up with their own copycat versions of the Amazon Echo.

Jack Ma also probably believed RBC Capital Markets’ projection for the Echo speaker. According to him the Echo speaker could generate $10 billion in business for Amazon by 2020.Probably this is the reason why, despite Alibaba being a Business-to-Business [B2B] e-commerce operator, it is now selling its own $73 smart speaker – Tmall Genie smart speaker/voice assistant.

The Tmall Genie was named after Alibaba’s Tmall online Business-to-Consumer marketplace. The exact details regarding how Alibaba will implement the cloud Artificial Intelligence component in the Tmall Genie is still uncertain. However, we know for sure that Amazon did not lend its Alexa Voice Service to its competitor.

When Did Alibaba Achieve The Technology?

Alibaba is not always transparent in its business accomplishments. The Tmall Genie is just another clue that they have an AI voice service in the cloud that we, non-China residents, does not know about. It entered the cloud computing business in 2009. Alibaba’s Cloud is a lot like Amazon Web Services.

This smart speaker helps people do more repeat online purchases. Instead of logging in on a computer or phone, people can command the Echo to buy a shampoo or order pizza.

There’s no doubt in the fact that Alibaba has more stashed cash and stronger revenue stream than Baidu. Given this fact Alibaba can easily afford to go big on Research & Development on AI. And that’s what they are continuing to do!



Avani Lalka is an experienced marketer, and a writer in the field of new-age marketing and career development. She writes from her heart to make a difference in the lives of the people that follow her. Currently she is heading Account Based Marketing (ABM) in a popular Pune-based startup. Feel free to connect her as she welcomes new ideas and opportunities. Email: