Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of China-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has appointed former longtime Microsoft executive Jingren Zhou as its chief scientist. Zhou will lead big-data and artificial intelligence research, developing cloud-scale distributed computation platforms and data analytic products, Alibaba Cloud said.
He will manage a team of engineers based in China and the U.S. that is working to develop technology in the areas of speech, natural language, image and video processing and large-scale machine learning.
According to Zhou’s LinkedIn profile, he has been a vice president at Alibaba Group since June 2015. Before that he worked as a manager at Microsoft for nearly seven years, addressing big-data architecture and distributed computing. He worked as a Microsoft database researcher for four years before becoming a partner development manager.
Zhou studied computer science in both China and the U.S., earning his doctorate at Columbia University.
Alibaba Cloud, launched in September 2009, is the fastest-growing business within Alibaba Group Holding, China’s largest e-commerce company, according to BloombergTechnology. Alibaba Cloud’s revenue tripled in its fourth fiscal quarter ended March 31, to more than 1 billion yuan (US$149.6 million), that report said. Like Amazon Web Services, Alibaba Cloud emerged from the enormous computational power needed to handle millions of online shopping transactions, the report noted.
The firm enjoys an advantage in the huge Chinese market, where it expects public-cloud use to grow by 100 percent over the next couple of years, according to Barron’s.