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Alibaba has partnered with artificial intelligence unicorn SenseTime and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) to launch a not-for-profit lab in a bid to foster tech talent in Hong Kong.

The HKAI Lab aims to “advance the frontiers of AI” by empowering startups to commercialise their ideas and inventions, as well as encouraging knowledge sharing among academics, scientists and entrepreneurs.

The initiative will be funded by Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, which was established to support young entrepreneurs, and SenseTime, which is also backed by Alibaba.  

The lab will launch a six-month Accelerator Program in September, which will provide funding, technologies, contacts and networking space to AI startups in Hong Kong. The program will be supported by Alibaba Cloud and HKSTP.

The move aims to help Hong Kong to cultivate talent and startups focused on AI and data sciences.  

Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman, Alibaba Group, said the initiative aimed to help, “foster Hong Kong’s AI capabilities and elevate its technology profile in the region”.

“Alibaba sees AI as a fundamental technology that will make a difference to society. We envision the Hong Kong AI Lab to be an open platform where researchers, start-ups and industry participants can collaborate and build a culture of innovation. ”

Prof. Xiao’ou Tang, founder of SenseTime, which is the world’s most highly valued artificial intelligence startup, said, “We created The HKAI Lab together with Alibaba and HKSTP in support of the calling for developing the Greater Bay Area into a distinguished technological center.

“The Lab will serve as a platform to bridge the academia and the industry, apply AI technologies to traditional industries, and promote broader collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland. With this platform and leading AI solutions from SenseTime, we aspire to create new opportunities for young people in Hong Kong.”