Tech Industry

Alibaba to launch own AI chip to avoid overdependence on US

The chip could reportedly power self-driving cars, smart cities and logistics.

Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma makes a speech at the Alibaba Xin Philanthropy Conference on Sept. 5, 2018.
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Alibaba is turning to artificial intelligence to expand its push into the internet of things.

At an event in Hangzhou, China, on Wednesday, the Chinese e-commerce giant said it will set up a subsidiary dedicated to developing and then launching its first AI inference chip in the second half of 2019, according to Reuters. The chip will reportedly power the company's cloud technology and IoT devices, and could be used for things like autonomous cars, smart cities and logistics.

This comes after Alibaba reportedly acquired C-Sky Microsystems, a Chinese microchip maker in Hangzhou, in April. The company's head, Jack Ma, reportedly said that China needs to control "core technology" like chips so it won't overly rely on US imports, in response to US-China trade war.

Ma said earlier this month that he'll be retiring from Alibaba in September 2019, when he'll hand the chairmanship off to CEO Daniel Zhang.

Alibaba didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.