Alibaba’s Massive DAMO R&D Project

Alibaba’s Massive DAMO R&D Project

Alibaba's massive $15 billion investment in the DAMO academy project is no longer news. As matter of fact, efforts are being to start up an office in Tel Aviv.

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Alibaba‘s massive $15 billion investment in the DAMO academy project is no longer news. As matter of fact, efforts are being to start up an office in Tel Aviv as soon as a deal is struck with Israel’s Visualead. A deal that will see the company adopt relevant talent and technology from this renowned company as soon as the project kicks off in Tel Aviv.

However, this isn’t the first time Alibaba will partner with Visualead. In recent past, Visualead developed a dot-less QR code which Alibaba makes use of in doing business in China. The company was founded in 2013 and started doing business with Alibaba 2 years after. Now, Alibaba intends to adopt the company’s computer vision technology alongside a number of its core engineers to help birth DAMO Tel Aviv. DAMO is a simple acronym for Discovery, adventure, momentum, and outlook. According to reliable sources, a deal should happen soon.
Techcrunch seems to have a different story entirely. They believe that a deal has already been agreed upon in principle by the parties involved but it’s yet to reach the final stage. Alibaba intends to not only acquire the company’s computer vision but also add other research teams to the Tel Aviv office in due course to help build the robust nature of the project.
Whether a deal has been struck or not is yet to be seen. There are reasons for us to believe that Techcrunch’s claim is false since Alibaba only intends to buy a part of Visualead’s technological assets. Whenever an official announcement is made, this deal will represent’s Alibaba’s first major acquisition in Israel.
Judging by the magnitude of the proposed deal, Visualead may be forced to shut down operations. Well, these are mere speculations as officials of Visualead, including its CEOs (Nevo Alva), refused to make any comment when asked about the proposed deal with Alibaba. Alibaba’s officials also gave a similar response when the same question was asked.
Visualead’s collaboration with Alibaba has seen them make over $2.4 million, with their technology (paid and free) reported to have been used by 500,000 companies in more than 200 countries worldwide.
The DAMO project promises to increase Alibaba’s coverage around the world, with a view to reach over 2 billion consumers globally. This would increase technological collaboration, and if everything goes according to plan, 100 academic researchers will be employed and over a 100 million jobs will be created for e-commerce sellers.
Currently, the headquarters is situated in Hangzhou (Alibaba’s base of operation). However, several labs are going to be built in Singapore, Moscow, Beijing, USA and of course, Tel Aviv.
Visualead has made an estimated $500 million from collaborating with Alibaba and other companies since inception. Unfortunately, this deal (if it goes through) may witness the company’s downfall and the rise of another Alibaba franchise.