JD.com launches Blockchain and AI accelerator
Chinese retail giant JD.com has launched a new accelerator, called AI Catapult, which will focus on the development of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies.
In a statement issued today (27 February), JD.com said that AI Catapult will “partner with innovative blockchain startups to build new businesses and create and test real-world applications of their technologies at scale”.
Post&Parcel readers will know that JD.com has already made use of robotics and automation in both its distribution centres and last mile delivery operations and it has also been pressing ahead with initiatives to use block chain technology for supply chain transparency. Now, through AI Catapult, JD.com said that it “hopes to deploy these and related technologies even more widely and in more areas that will increase efficiencies and delight customers”.
AI Catapult will be based in Beijing and JD.com has already lined up a number of tech companies on the “inaugural roster”. These include: the Chinese fintech pioneer, Bankorus; Australia’s cryptocurrency specialist CanYa; Bluezelle, the blockchain-powered database service based in Singapore; London-based Nuggets, the e-commerce payments and ID platform built on blockchain; and Devery, a blockchain powered, open-source, product verification protocol.
JD.com said the development work on blockchain technology will focus on areas such as “scalability, security, privacy, efficiency and energy consumption”.
“JD is in a unique position to explore the potential of AI and blockchain in global commerce,” said Bowen Zhou, Vice President of JD.com’s AI Platform and Research Division. “We are excited to work with some of the world’s most innovative startups to explore ways we can scale these cutting edge technologies for the future of retail and other industries, as well.”