Alibaba adds fresh AI startup to its investing portfolio amid increasing bets in the sector

Alibaba invests in AI startups MiniMax and Moonshot AI, signaling deep interest in China's AI sector.

: Alibaba is leading the latest funding round for Chinese AI startup MiniMax, aiming to strengthen its position in China's artificial intelligence sector. This follows a significant investment in Moonshot AI, marking the e-commerce giant's active engagement in external investments alongside developments in its own cloud computing department's large language model. The investments reflect a broader national push in China, as indicated by government reports and proposals, to accelerate development in AI technology.

Alibaba has ventured as a lead investor in the latest funding round for MiniMax, a Chinese AI startup, indicating the e-commerce giant's continued interest in the burgeoning AI sector, including a preceding major investment in Moonshot AI earlier in 2024. According to reports, MiniMax is seeking at least $600 million in its current funding phase. The startup, founded by Yan Junjie, a former vice president at SenseTime, in December 2021, has launched services akin to ChatGPT and provides large language model (LLM) capabilities for applications such as WPS and Xiaohongshu, pointing to Alibaba's strategy of diversifying its investment in emerging AI technologies while also supporting Moonshot AI to become a new AI unicorn in China through extensive financial and computing power contributions.

The investment activities come amidst a highlighted focus on artificial intelligence in China, underscored by numerous mentions in the government's annual reports and the suggestions made during the Two Sessions government meetings. Premier Li Qiang's mentioning of AI three times in the annual government work report, along with technology sector representatives proposing integration of AI education, showcases the central role AI is expected to play in China's strategy for technological advancement and development of new productivity sectors.

TechNode's reporting on these developments, including Alibaba's strategic investments, aligns with a broader narrative of China investing heavily in artificial intelligence research and development. Such investments are part of a national strategy to lead in AI innovation and are indicative of the private sector's role in achieving these ambitions. Alibaba's dual approach of internal development and external investments in AI startups like MiniMax and Moonshot AI exemplifies the synergy between national objectives and corporate strategies, promising to push forward the frontiers of AI technology within China.