alibaba makes progress on llm models

The South China Morning Post reported that Alibaba Group Holding (NYSE: BABA) is making progress with its large language model (LLM). Just about two weeks back, the company opened up its ChatGPT-like service for public testing.

In April, Alibaba unveiled Tongyi Qianwen which is its AI chatbot based on DAMO’s LLM

The South China Morning Post report cited a research paper that was published last week on the online scientific paper repository ArXiv by researchers from DAMO Academy.

It unveiled Video-LLaMA – a new audiovisual language model that helps the system to understand both audio and visual content in videos.

While the researchers noted that the model is “an early-stage prototype” and has limitations – it nonetheless shows progress from the previous model.

AI integration

In April, Alibaba invited businesses to test its Tongyi Qianwen LLM. Back then, the service which literally translates to “Truth from a Thousand Questions” was in beta testing mode and made available to select corporate customers.

The company has integrated Tongyi Qianwen into a digital assistant called Tingwu and the Tongyi Tingwu chatbot is now available for public testing.

To begin with, Alibaba would integrate Tongyi Tingwu into DingTalk, its business-focused messaging service.

Alibaba has said that eventually, it would integrate AI into all its products and service – something with fellow Chinese company Baidu also intends to do.

Alibaba annual revenues
Source: Statista


Notably, tech companies like Alibaba are turning to AI to revive sagging growth. Alibaba’s revenues for instance rose only 2% YoY in the fiscal year that ended in March – which is the slowest since it went public in 2014.

Things are no better for Amazon and its 2022 revenue growth was just above 9% which is the lowest ever.

Alibaba Makes Progress in LLMs

During its earnings call for the March quarter, Alibaba said that it has received more than 200,000 beta testing requests from enterprise users for its AI model.

Along with Alibaba, Chinese tech giant Baidu is also working on generative AI and in March it unveiled its Ernie chatbot – albeit to mixed reviews.

Google’s Bard did not had the perfect debut either and Alphabet stock lost $100 billion in market cap after the company unveiled Bard.

Alphabet stock

Alphabet stock has since recovered and is up 38.7% for the year. While the stock is outperforming the Nasdaq 100 this year it is the worst-performing FAANG stock based on YTD price movement.

Most Wall Street analysts are meanwhile bullish on Alphabet’s AI forays and in the first quarter, billionaire fund manager Bill Ackman, who rose to fame with his bet against the credit markets in Q1 2020, bought 10 million Alphabet shares.

Alibaba Is Reorganizing Its Business

Earlier this year, Alibaba announced a major reorganization of the business and split it into six units which would have the ability to raise capital independently and also explore IPOs.

The Cloud Intelligence Group is among these six units and houses the company’s cloud and AI business. The business is led by Daniel Zhang who is also the CEO of Alibaba Holdings.

In May, BABA said that it would spin off the business through a stock dividend to stockholders which would be followed by an eventual listing of the business.

The company expects to complete the spin-off over the next 12 months and intends to rope in external investors into the unit.

Alibaba also said that it would pursue the IPO of Cainiao Smart Logistics unit where it holds a 67% stake.

Chinese Tech Stocks’ Valuation Has Taken a Beating

The valuation of Chinese tech stocks has taken a beating amid the growing rivalry with the US and growing scrutiny by the regulators.

Last year, Alibaba stock fell below its 2014 IPO price amid the continued sell-off in Chinese tech shares. While the shares have rebounded somewhat from the troughs, they are still a fraction of the 2020 highs.

An AI war seems to be heating up between the US and China and Microsoft has moved some AI experts from China to Canada in what’s being dubbed the “Vancouver Plan.”

Meanwhile, the AI boom has helped lift tech stocks this year adding over $4 trillion to the Nasdaq 100’s market cap. Nvidia deserves a special mention here as the stock is up over 175% this year and last month joined the rank of $1 trillion market cap companies.

Listed AI stocks are outperforming the broader markets by a decent margin. Notably, with gains of over 39% Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF has delivered returns that are thrice of what the S&P 500 Index has delivered YTD.

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