According to official website of DAMO Academy, Jin Rong was a tenured professor at Michigan State University and joined Alibaba in 2014. He was put in charge of the Institute of Data Science of Technologies established by Alibaba in Silicon Valley. Jin has long been focused on statistical machine learning, big data analysis and its application in information retrieval, e-commerce and other fields. One well-known product developed under Jin’s supervision include the Taobao App’s image search feature. Later, Jin served as Associate Dean of DAMO Academy, and was responsible for the field of machine intelligence.
The former Associate Dean has been mainly responsible for researching cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning to help improve the overall efficiency of retail, medical, judicial, transportation and other industries. Their ultimate goal is to promote changes within the economic and space tech fields, in addition to those regarding automatic control, computer design and manufacturing.
There are five laboratories belonging to the sector: speech, visual intelligence, language technology, decision intelligence and urban brain. Most of the things that these teams led by Jin Rong have to do are to improve Alibaba‘s business efficiency and to find new growth points.
Wang Gang, the head of the autonomous driving laboratory of DAMO Academy, also left the job at the beginning of this year. Industry analysts believe that their departure is mainly due to the company’s overestimation of the value of technology and underestimation of the difficulty of the technology’s implementation. In addition, most technical laboratories in China are responsible for their own profit and loss, which is not always an easy thing to achieve.
According to the Q4 financial report released by Alibaba in 2021, revenues of innovative businesses and others, including voice assistant TmallGenie and DAMO Academy, account for only 1% of the company’s total revenue. This is because the technology and products produced by DAMO Academy mostly serve Alibaba‘s own ecology rather than being deployed to the greater public. In order to achieve real revenue growth, however, the company still needs to to focus on a broader external market.