Chinese tech giant Alibaba has shuttered it quantum computing laboratory, and its team, from its research arm amid a larger overhaul of the company.
The company will donate the quantum lab and related experimental equipment to state-run Zhejiang University, it said on Monday.
A spokesperson for Alibaba’s DAMO Academy, the firm’s in-house research initiative which included the lab, said the academy would continue to focus on technology research with the aim of being a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) research.
Meanwhile, Zhejiang University will try and recruit affected employees to work on its own quantum research, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
The lab, and its 30 employees, represented a small part of Alibaba’s overall R&D team, the source said.
DAMO Academy was launched in 2017 by Alibaba Group to research advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning.
Alibaba was one the first technology firms in China to invest in quantum computing technology, the South China Morning Post reported.
The closure of the lab is the latest internal change at Alibaba, which said in March it would split its business into six units and spin-off its cloud division.
However, that spin-off was scrapped this month — a move that wiped $20 billion off of the company’s market value.
Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed shares were down more than 2% on Tuesday.
Newly-appointed CEO Eddie Wu has said that each of Alibaba’s businesses will face the market more independently and that they would conduct a strategic reviews to distinguish between “core” and “non-core” businesses.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena