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Alibaba’s research arm shuts quantum computing lab amid restructuring

A man walks past a logo of Alibaba Group at its office building in Beijing, China August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

The research arm of the Chinese internet giant Alibaba (9988. HK) has eliminated a quantum computing laboratory and staff. The business said on Monday that it had donated the laboratory and the experimental equipment related to quantum computing to Zhejiang University.

Alibaba’s DAMO Academy is an in-house research effort that includes the lab. According to a representative for the academy, the academy will continue to focus on technological research to be a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) research.

Earlier, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters that the lab and its 30 personnel comprise a very insignificant portion of Alibaba’s entire research and development team.

According to the source, Zhejiang University will make an effort to hire the impacted personnel so that they may work on their quantum research.

The Alibaba Group established the DAMO Academy in 2017 to research cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The closing of the lab is the most recent internal shift to take place at Alibaba, which announced in March that it will spin off its cloud division and divide its business into six distinct divisions.

This month, the spin-off was canceled, and Alibaba’s new CEO, Eddie Wu, said that each company will operate more independently in the market. He also stated that Alibaba would perform strategic evaluations to differentiate between “core” and “non-core” operations.

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