Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba, affirmed at this year’s Apsara Conference that technology serves as the cornerstone for the internet giant to maintain its long-term development. Alibaba says that its pursuit of technological advancement remains unchanged, and that it will assume greater responsibilities and make more contributions to social and economic development.
Donating Cloud Computer Rooms to 64 Schools
Alibaba proposed giving full play to its technological advantages in cloud computing to promote educational equity at last year’s Apsara Conference. Today, this commitment has made progress in various stages.
Alibaba has established online computer study rooms in 64 schools across China and donated 30,000 cloud computer accounts. About half of the students in these schools are underprivileged children who find it difficult to access digital devices. Cloud computers can be updated online and always keep the latest configuration. Teachers and students can log in with their exclusive accounts to save and use studying resources on the cloud.
“We hope that through the program, computing power can benefit students in remote villages to lead them to a better future,” said Zhang.
Since Alibaba started cloud computing in China in 2009, the technology has come to represent an important infrastructure for inclusive and green development of the whole society. Zhang said that in 2021, Alibaba established its ESG (environment, society and governance) as the core strategy of the group’s development, and proposed achieving carbon neutrality in Scope 1 and 2 by 2030, and the carbon emission intensity in Scope 3 is expected to be halved compared with that in 2020. In 2022, Alibaba became the largest buyer of clean energy in the Chinese tech field, and by 2030, Alibaba Cloud will use clean energy for 100% of its computing power supply.
Supporting Growth of Young Scientists, Launching Inclusive Platform for Vocational Education
At the meeting, 15 young scientists won the Young Fellow award backed by Alibaba‘s DAMO Academy. Their research involves theoretical mathematics, quantum physics, life medicine and chemical materials.
Founded in 2018, the Young Fellow award is a public welfare academic initiative for young Chinese scholars aged 35 and below. It has supported 54 young scientists for five consecutive years. Zhang said that the company will continue to explore, witness and support the growth of young Chinese scientists, and help them stick to their dreams and devote themselves to scientific research.
In the field of vocational education, Alibaba has developed an inclusive platform which provides online training, certification and employment for vocational school students. Since its launch more than half a year ago, more than 200 vocational courses have been provided, with over 40,000 students and a cumulative study time of over 80,000 hours.
Spreading Technology to Rural Areas
Rural revitalization is part of the Chinese government’s official strategy, and it is an area that Alibaba has continuously invested in for many years. “At present, nearly half of Alibaba employees are engineers. Employees are an important asset of the company and a force to promote technology inclusiveness. Talent is the key to rural revitalization,” said Zhang.
In the past year, Alibaba has selected 220 technical experts and volunteers for underdeveloped counties to carry out volunteer service, covering cultural relics protection, intelligent breeding and inclusive technology education.
At the same time, Alibaba‘s design team launched a public welfare project called “Looking for Beauty in the Distance.” More than 1,500 people combined with rural cultural elements to reshape the packaging of agricultural products and help local products to obtain more exposure. In the past few years, they have helped create more than 77 million yuan in transactions, applying innovative digital collections to the protection of cultural relics.