Alibaba head into NYFW to prove its AI investment

New York - Over the past months, the Chinese e-commerce giant has ramped up its investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. Alibaba has used AI to create customer service chat bots, improve the recommendation of products to its shoppers, and power the brains of drones and robots for logistics purposes, recalls ‘Yahoo Finance’.

This week, a group of Chinese designers that wok with the e-tailer present at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) their collections, created and informed by data collected from billions of online Alibaba clothing purchases made by its 674 million annual active consumers, the latter explained in a corporate communication earlier this month.

Alibaba believes its AI will help designers anticipate fashion trends by six months

In fact, Alibaba believes the data it garners from customers can help designers see six months into the future. In these fast-moving times, that would put them practically ages ahead of competitors relying purely on their imagination.

Analysts following the value have recently highlighted that Alibaba's potential success in AI could be a differentiating factor over its direct competitor Tencent.

In this regard, James Lin, head of fashion at Alibaba North America, told the ‘Nikkei Asian Review’ how they have “used big data to help these designers hone in on a few trends and have their collections built around these trends,” “Based on what our consumers are wanting to buy, are looking for, are searching, we can help these designers create collections that appeal to a very big group,” he added.

It’s worth recalling that Alibaba has been piloting a fashion AI clothing store that uses things like “smart mirrors” and “intelligent garment tags” to provide consumers with information as well as collect it and make the shopping experience more convenient.

Alibaba started investing in AI in 2013 when it stroke a deal with Xiao-I, a chatbot company. From audio technology, Alibaba then expanded the technology target into areas such as data management and knowledge graph in 2014. Tmall Genie, intelligent speaker born in Alibaba AI Labs, officially debuted in 2017 with the help of several investments in audio, data and robotics tech companies.

Image: Tmall China Cool, NYFW Spring 2020


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