Alibaba Makes Second Major AI Investment in 2024, Backs MiniMax in a $600M Round 


  • Alibaba is following the trend of major tech companies by making significant investments in AI startups.
  • The company has now led two major funding rounds with just three months into 2024.
  • Alibaba is also fostering internal AI development and integrating AI across its various business units.

Over the past few years, major tech companies, including Amazon, have been dabbling into the AI space through investment in startups and several strategic partnerships, following Microsoft’s investment in ChatGPT maker OpenAI. 

Alibaba Invests in Second AI Startup This Year

China’s tech giant Alibaba has gone full force with the trend as it makes its second major investment this year in Chinese AI startup MiniMax. Per reports, Alibaba is leading a funding round of $600 million for MiniMax, which is still ongoing as of publication date.

MiniMax, which specialises in social AI, was reportedly founded in 2022 by former executives of Microsoft and Alibaba. In June 2023, the company raised $250 million from a Tencent-backed entity and other investors. The latest funding round is set to raise MiniMax’s valuation to over $2.5 billion. 

The deal marks Alibaba’s second significant investment move in 2024. In February, the company led a $1 billion funding round for Moonshot AI, a rising star in China’s generative AI landscape. The investment, the largest ever for a Chinese AI startup, underscores Alibaba’s commitment to fostering cutting-edge AI research and development.

These recent investments build upon Alibaba’s established track record in the AI space. The company’s cloud computing arm, Alibaba Cloud, is a leading provider of AI infrastructure and services in China, catering to a vast network of tech companies and hosting a significant portion of the country’s generative AI firms.

Alibaba vs. Tencent vs. Baidu: The Battle for AI Supremacy in China

Alibaba has also been actively fostering internal AI development, implementing a comprehensive plan to integrate AI across its various business units, ranging from e-commerce to logistics.

While Alibaba has been making headlines with its recent AI investments, its Chinese tech counterparts, Tencent and Baidu, are also making significant strides in the AI space.

Last year, Tencent participated in a funding round for AI companies Zhipu and Baichuan, together with Alibaba. Baidu has also made notable investments but mostly focused on building its in-house AI chatbot dubbed Ernie. 

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Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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