JD.com launches technology accelerator

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has launched a new accelerator – AI Catapult – designed specifically for the development of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies.

AI Catapult will partner with blockchain startups to build new businesses and create and test real world applications of their technologies at scale. Participants will have the opportunity to work wide a wide variety of operational teams within JD.

The company also utilises blockchain technology in supply chains and for product safety, through a supply chain transparency initiative that enables tracing for products back to their origin. Through the new accelerator platform, the firm hopes to deploy these and related technologies more widely and in more areas to increase efficiencies.

JD has already developed a number of commercial AI applications – deployed in drones, robotics, automation technology, smart supply chain, marketing and customer service applications.

The first cohort of AI Catapult participants includes Chinese FinTech firm Bankorous; Australia’s cryptocurrency firm CanYa; Bluezelle, a blockchain-powered database service based in Singapore; and London-based Nuggets, an e-commerce payments and ID platform built on blockchain.

Bowen Zhou, vice president of JD.com’ AI platform and research division, said: “JD is in a unique position to explore the potential of AI and blockchain in global commerce. 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.”

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