Alibaba, SenseTime and HKSTP create AI R&D lab in Hong Kong

Alibaba, SenseTime HKSTP

Alibaba, SenseTime and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP) have launched the HKAI Lab, a nonprofit initiative that aims to advance AI R&D and empower start-ups to commercialize their new inventions.

Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund – established by Alibaba to support young entrepreneurs – and SenseTime will provide funding for the operation of the Lab.

The first lab initiative rolled out on Monday is a six-month accelerator program. With support from Alibaba Cloud and HKSTP, the program will provide funding, AI technologies, network and working space to prospective AI start-ups in Hong Kong as an effort to cultivate a local community of talent and startups in AI and data science, said Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group.

Starting in September 2018, the program will offer two intakes per year, providing funding and resources to about ten successful start-up applicants in each intake class. SenseTime will provide deep learning platform and AI solutions to prospective start-ups. They will also obtain cloud computing services, machine learning platform, and IT support including GPU-equipped high-performance computer resources from Alibaba Cloud, as well as access to technologies developed by Alibaba DAMO Academy, a global research program created by Alibaba Group.

Enrolled start-ups will receive free working space from HKSTP. The program will start accepting applications from mid-June 2018.

SenseTime founder Prof. Xiao’ou Tang said the three firms created the HKAI Lab in part to support development the ‘Greater Bay Area into a distinguished technological center.

“The Lab will serve as a platform to bridge the academia and the industry, apply AI technologies to traditional industries, and promote broader collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland,” Tang said.

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