Alibaba News Roundup: Tmall New Merchant Numbers Rise; Stanford AI Index Features DAMO Cancer Screening Tool; ABH Finalists Invited to Alibaba Campus

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Alibaba News Roundup: Tmall New Merchant Numbers Rise; Stanford AI Index Features DAMO Cancer Screening Tool; ABH Finalists Invited to Alibaba Campus

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This week, Alibaba Group’s online retail platform Tmall announced an uptick in the number of new merchants on the marketplace, as well as a rise in transaction volume among new joiners.

In other news, a cancer screening tool developed by Alibaba’s research arm DAMO Academy was included in the 2024 edition of Stanford University’s ranking of notable AI developments and innovations.

And a group of entrepreneurs who participated in the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) startup competition are on their way to Alibaba’s Hangzhou headquarters, part of an exchange program to hone their business skills and find networking opportunities.  

Tmall Records Jump in Merchants, Transaction Volume in First Quarter

The numbers are in, and it’s looking like a banner quarter for merchants on Tmall.

Between January and March, the number of new merchants on the e-commerce marketplace rose 60% year-on-year, data released by Tmall this week revealed.

The total transaction volume of new merchants on the platform in the first quarter increased by 150% year-on-year, and nearly 200 brands sold over RMB1 million ($138,201) worth of merchandise.

Recently, the business earmarked more resources for business development among its merchants, with plans to triple the scale of resources dedicated to new products.

“Constant growth has always been our unique advantage,” Mu Shan, General Manager of FMCG at Taobao and Tmall Group, said at Tmall’s Top Talk 2024 event in Shanghai earlier this month.

Over the last year, Tmall launched more than 4,100 brands with sales of RMB100 million, the platform reported, in addition to some 5,000 brands with sales exceeding RMB10 million within three years of opening.

Discover more news from China’s e-commerce sector

AI medical tools like DAMO Academy’s pancreatic cancer screening represent significant advancements in diagnosing challenging medical conditions, according to a Stanford University report published this week.

The 2024 AI Index Report introduces a new chapter on AI in science and medicine in recognition of AI’s growing role in breakthroughs in these sectors, such as DAMO Academy’s AI-powered tool for pancreatic cancer screening called PANDA.

In a large-scale, real-world test involving approximately 20,000 patients, PANDA achieved a sensitivity of 92.9% and a specificity of 99.9%, meaning it is highly sensitive to abnormalities and produces very few false positive results.

AI medical tools like PANDA offer cost-effective and accurate detection previously considered difficult or prohibitive, the report noted.

In a pioneering move, DAMO Academy’s AI-powered tools were recently put to use at two hospitals at Lishui city in China’s Zhejiang province as part of Alibaba’s philanthropy programs.

Read more about PANDA’s real-world deployment

Top African Entrepreneurs Head to Alibaba HQ

More than 40 finalists from the past five editions of entrepreneurship competition ABH are gathering at Alibaba’s headquarters to attend seminars, network and exchange ideas.

This is the first time ABH’s top 10 entrepreneurs have been invited to attend training at the platform company’s Xixi campus in Hangzhou.

Over the course of a week, they will share their experiences from across 17 African countries and 6 industries through a series of meetings with Alibaba executives, investors and local entrepreneurs.

ABH challenges entrepreneurs to pitch creative business ideas that address problems in their communities.

The program, sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, is just over halfway through its 10-year commitment to support innovation in Africa.

Want more entrepreneurship stories? Get your fill here

Over 500 Teams Joined AI Track for Alibaba’s Global Math Competition

This week, Alibaba’s Global Math Competition hosted its preliminary round, drawing math enthusiasts and developers from over 58 countries and regions to participate. 

Over 500 teams joined the track for AI models this year, leveraging open-sourced and closed-sourced AI models to solve math challenges. Members of the teams that participated in the AI track came from diverse backgrounds, from academic institutions including Oxford, Peking University and Tsinghua University, to enterprises such as AWS and ByteDance.

To customize the models for solving math challenges, some of the teams turned to retraining the models on specialized datasets, a process called finetuning, to enhance the models’ performance. Others resorted to crafting the input prompts to generate the most effective response.

Teams for the AI model track will need to solve the same mathematical challenges as human contestants do in under 48 hours. The judging panel will then evaluate the answers based on the models’ innovation, logic and efficiency in solving the mathematical challenges. 

The top three scorers in the AI track will win $10,000, $5,000, and $2,000, respectively. Launches Women Entrepreneur Training Program in Europe unveiled a training and networking academy for women entrepreneurs in Europe this week, part of a broader effort to achieve gender equality in the business space.

Over the course of 10 weeks, 40 participants in the newly launched Academy for Women Entrepreneurs will have opportunities for mentorship and networking with like-minded business leaders, investors and organizations.

Learn more about the program (and how to apply)

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