JD.com, one of the largest ecommerce companies in China, is launching a new Beijing-based accelerator program for artificial intelligence and blockchain startups. Called AI Catapult, its first batch includes six companies: Bankorus, CanYa, Bluezelle, Nuggets, Republic Protocol and Devery.
In an announcement, JD.com said startups will work with its operational teams to “test real-world applications of their technologies on a large scale.” This includes its logistics unit, which recently raised $ 2.5 billion and claims to be the last logistics network in China.
Although the Alibaba group is probably better known outside of China, JD.com is a formidable rival. In 2016, it recorded 658.2 billion RMB, or about $ 100 billion, in gross market value (JD.com will announce its annual results for 2017 next month). JD.com and Tencent often partner to deal with Alibaba, recently supporting several of the same online and offline retail companies, including Vipshop and Better Life. Walmart and JD.com also signed a strategic partnership in 2016 to combine their resources in China.
JD.com currently operates a research laboratory on the sponsored IA called the SAIL JD AI Research Institute with the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The company is already using blockchain technology in its supply chain to track products and AI in software that it has developed to control its logistics drones and automated sorting centers.
Here are more details on the first batch of AI Catapult:
CanYa-Based in Australia, CanYa is a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows users to pay for digital or home-based services with cryptocurrency. During the program, CanYa will be marketed to JD.com customers.
Launch of Bluezelle-A Singapore which provides scalable storage and data management services for decentralized applications.
Nuggets, a London-based payment and identification platform that stores information about the blockchain to prevent data breaches.
Protocol of the Republic – a dark decentralized pool, or private exchange, for the atomic trade between chains between the Ether tokens, ERC20 and Bitcoin.
Devery – Another Australian company, Devery uses blockchain technology to enable ecommerce companies to check products at all stages of the supply chain and avoid counterfeits.
Bankorus – Formerly known as MiCai, this Chinese FinTech start-up claims to be the world’s first privately managed asset management platform and built on the blockchain.
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