Alibaba Lays Out Big Plans for Ai Growth

Alibaba's chairman Joe Tsai speak about how Ai is going to feature as a core element to the business to get the business back on track for growth and profit.

Alex Jenkins
By Alex Jenkins - Senior Editor
Alibaba Chairman Joe Tsai speaking at event about benefits of ai for the business
Alibaba Chairman Joe Tsai speaking at event about benefits of ai for the business

Alibaba’s chairman Joe Tsai was interviewed for a 26-minute video on YouTube on what Ai can bring to the table and help his business grow. It was well attended, with more than 2,700 up-and-coming business leaders from over 1,300 companies.

How is Ai going to integrate into Alibaba?

Hands up, who is getting tired of businesses saying they are going to use Ai? It’s almost reached meme like status. So, please, tell me exactly how Alibaba is going to use Ai, and more specifically increase profit through its use.

This is a direct quote from the video:

“Anybody that uses our AI will need to use cloud computing power… When they use open-sourced AI within our community, they also need computing power. That’s how we can grow our cloud computing revenue.”

Joe Tsai – Alibaba’s chairman

Oh, I think I have totally misunderstood the assignment here… What Alibaba are saying is that they are going all in on supply of Ai through its cloud computing infrastructure. It’s a smart move, during a gold rush, those who supplied the pickaxes often made more money than those who dug for the gold.

Selling the gold rush idea

On the flip side, it’s also important that you are able to sell the promise of gold. Tsai goes on to say that Ai can have serious benefits to your business, increase revenue and lower costs.

“It’s important to us that we can apply AI in numerous vertical applications… When we look at our use cases in e-commerce, it’s incredible.”

…and there is the gold. There is no doubt that Ai is having an impact on business at a faster pace than we ever thought. It could go down in history as a bigger contribution (this depends on your stance of Ai) to human advancement than the internet.

I think we are still waiting for that major breakthrough moment, example if Ai is credited as the main contributing factor to finding cures for major disease such as cancer.

The interview highlights more than just Ai

After watching the video, the top 3 takeaways are:

It remains fundamentally the same business – Tsai went on to explain that Alibaba’s recent reorganization aimed at faster decision-making by delegating key business decision-making to individual business CEOs. The focus still remains, primarily an e-commerce and cloud computing business at heart.

Ai needs to become a core component within with current businesses – Alibaba is heavily investing in AI, including developing their own large language model. It’s called Tongyi Qianwen, and integrating it with their cloud computing service is a key goal. Tsai went on to explain the link between AI and cloud computing as crucial for future growth.

Challenges and risks remain high – Within the video, it was clear that Tsai acknowledged the challenges Alibaba faces. These include regulatory scrutiny, competition, and geopolitical tensions. You only have to see the pressure on TikTok in the USA of how tensions can quickly escalate.

Aiming for business growth

Despite all of this, he highlighted that Alibaba’s remains focused on growth, technology innovation, and serving customers. He assured shareholders of management’s laser like focus remains on its core businesses, aiming for double-digit growth by 2027, while managing non-core business.

This sounds like a smart strategy, often businesses stagnate and slow when they grow and add in additional layers of management and staff.

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