Published on November 6, 2023, 2:14 pm

TLDR: Alibaba's e-commerce unit is partnering with software companies to test generative AI applications using its large language models. The AI models, called Aidge and accessible through APIs, are trained on data from Alibaba's global e-commerce operations. This initiative aims to help small and medium-sized businesses expand internationally by overcoming language barriers and other challenges. Aidge is currently being piloted in Singapore with plans for a region-by-region rollout starting in 2024. The collaboration between Alibaba and its partners aims to define the use cases of AI technologies and transform industries globally.

Alibaba’s e-commerce business unit is actively seeking software partners to collaborate on testing generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications using its large language models. These AI models, known as Aidge and accessible through a suite of application programming interfaces (APIs), are trained on data gathered from Alibaba’s global e-commerce operations. The company has launched over 15 APIs with the pilot launch of Aidge, offering independent software vendors (ISVs) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors the opportunity to develop and test various use cases related to consumer insight, content localization, design, and customer service.

This initiative by Alibaba comes as part of its reorganization earlier this year to establish six distinct business units, including its e-commerce division. Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group unveiled Aidge during a launch event in Singapore. Notably, Aidge differs from Tongyi Qianwen, another language model developed by Alibaba Cloud. While Tongyi Qianwen is designed to enhance the user experience across all of Alibaba’s products and services in the future, including search and navigation features, Aidge focuses specifically on empowering international commerce retail businesses like Lazada, AliExpress, Trendyol, and Daraz.

At present, Aidge is being piloted exclusively in Singapore where it is being tested by companies such as Daraz and AliExpress. External customers are also participating in these pilot programs; however, detailed information about their involvement has not been disclosed. Throughout the pilot phase running until December, Alibaba will continue to refine Aidge based on user feedback. The company plans to roll out the APIs region by region starting in early 2024.

Zhang Kaifu, Vice President of Alibaba International emphasized that many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face common challenges when trying to expand their reach beyond local markets. Language barriers, cultural differences, a shortage of talent in areas like design and customer service along with cost and market competition all hinder these businesses. Generative AI powered by Aidge has the potential to address these challenges, bringing cost and operational efficiencies to SMBs. For example, multilingual large language models can generate localized consumer insights and content that resonate with specific target markets. Moreover, AI can analyze consumer reviews and effectively tailor marketing strategies to bolster customer acquisition.

Aidge currently supports 18 languages, including Chinese, English, French, Korean, Spanish, and Thai. The widespread accessibility of AI tools is crucial for empowering businesses that may not have access to such technologies otherwise. Tatiana Palhares, Chief Product Officer at Daraz highlighted the issue of inequality in online product listing among larger brands versus smaller sellers in this region. By integrating Aidge into their platform, Daraz aims to bridge this gap by assisting small merchants with content generation and customer service through features like chatbots.

The collaboration between Alibaba International and its partners seeks to co-define the use cases of AI technologies. With platforms operating in over 190 countries and serving millions of sellers worldwide, Alibaba’s vision is to support SMBs through ISV and SaaS collaborations. The launch of Aidge is just the beginning of what Alibaba envisions as a collaborative effort with partners worldwide to leverage the capabilities of AI technologies in transforming various industries and enhancing global business operations.


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