China's Alibaba is beefing up its efforts to enter the cloud computing and Internet of Things segments. The company announced that it is creating a chip subsidiary which will be focused on developing artificial intelligence inference chips. The goal is to introduce such processors in the second half of 2019 for the autonomous driving, smart cities, and logistics categories.
The Chinese company announced its plan during an event in Hangzhou. Alibaba's revelation does not come as a surprise, however. The company acquired Chinese microchip company Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems in April this year as part of its cloud-based IoT push.
Alibaba also has prior investments in the AI segment. In fact, the Chinese e-commerce company officially announced the Tmall Genie last year. It's a digital smart speaker with a blue translucent ring that lights up at the bottom, meant to rival the Amazon Echo smart speaker.
The planned creation of the chip subsidiary is believed to be part of Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma's efforts to help reduce China's dependence on U.S. technologies. The country's government is also keen on raising the standard of the Chinese chip industry.