JD.com, China’s largest retailer and e-commerce company, has launched AI Catapult, an accelerator for the developing blockchain technology and artificial intelligence, the company announced on its website. As part of JD’s AI program, AI Catapult will partner with blockchain startups to develop new businesses and test real-world applications of their technologies at scale. Startups will work with JD.com teams which provide access to the largest nationwide, last-mile logistics network.
JD.com has developed AI applications in China and at a Silicon Valley lab. HD.com, for example, uses blockchain technology in its supply chains to ensue product safety. With AI Catapult, the company plans to deploy these technologies in more areas and at a greater frequency.
AI Catapult already includes companies such as Chinese fintech pioneer Bankorous; Australia’s cryptocurrency leader CanYa; Bluezelle, a blockchain-powered database service in Singapore; London-based Nuggets, an ID platform and payments platform built on blockchain; and Devery, an open source, blockchain powered product verification protocol.
JD.com has more than 266 million customers. Bowen Zhou, vice president of the company’s AI platform and research division, said the company is in a unique position to explore AI and blockchain potential in global commerce. AI Catapult will also help JD.com’s AI research division find ways to use AI to improve blockchain technology, with a focus on scalability, security, privacy, efficiency and energy consumption that will bring positive social impacts in addition to business benefits.