JD.com bets on blockchain and AI start-ups

Chinese retailer JD.com has launched an accelerator called AI Catapult, which hopes to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies.

The accelerator will partner with start-ups to create and test real-world applications of their technologies at scale. The start-ups will work within various parts of JD.com’s retail and logistics businesses.

“JD is in a unique position to explore the potential of AI and blockchain in global commerce,” said Bowen Zhou, VP of JD.com’s AI platform and research division. “We are excited to work with some of the world’s most innovative startups to explore ways we can scale these cutting edge technologies for the future of retail and other industries, as well.”

With over 266 million customers, JD is already experimenting with AI applications, having created solutions for its drones, robotics and automation technology, supply chain, marketing and customer service.

The company is also interested in developing blockchain solution to be used in its supply chain and for product safety, so products can be traced back to their origin.

The accelerator will be based in Beijing and will begin with a number of companies including Chinese fintech pioneer, Bankorous; Australia’s cryptocurrency leader CanYa; Bluezelle, the blockchain-powered database service based in Singapore; and London-based Nuggets, the e-commerce payments and ID platform built on blockchain.

Start-ups interested in joining the AI Catapult accelerator should contact: AIPlus@JD.com