E-commerce giant pushes to grow cloud computing business
KUALA LUMPUR: Alibaba Group will set up a traffic control system harnessing artificial intelligence for Kuala Lumpur, its first such service outside China, as the e-commerce giant pushes to grow its cloud computing business.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, said yesterday it planned to make live traffic predictions and recommendations to increase traffic efficiency in Kuala Lumpur by crunching data gathered from video footage, traffic bureaus, public transportation systems and mapping apps.
It is partnering state agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) and city hall (DBKL) to roll out the technology, which would be localised and integrated with 500 inner city cameras by May.
The partnership comes after Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched an “e-hub” facility last year, part of an initiative aimed at removing trade barriers for smaller firms and emerging nations.
Alibaba Cloud, which set up a data centre in Malaysia last year, is considering a second one to further develop a local ecosystem, its president Simon Hu said yesterday.
He declined to elaborate on the company’s total investments made and planned for in Malaysia, but said it was “no small amount” and that the investments would continue if there was demand for cloud computing technologies.
MDEC chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said there was no estimate of City Brain’s impact on traffic in Kuala Lumpur yet. The traffic management system in the Chinese city of Hangzhou had resulted in reports of traffic violations with up to 92% accuracy, emergency vehicles reaching their destinations in half the time and overall increase in traffic speed by 15%.
Najib has forged close ties with China in recent years. Last year, the Malaysian leader announced a slew of infrastructure projects, many funded by China, as he worked up momentum towards a general election he must call by the middle of this year. — Reuters