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Suning executive: China can compete in AI

A Suning executive says AI has had “a profound impact” on retail business – and many Chinese companies are ready to compete with Silicon Valley.
Suning IT executive VP Joshua Xiangan told the Berkeley Sino-US Summit, at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), that the gap between China and the US was narrowing, particularly in AI.
He said many global retailers implementing AI strategies – and Suning was among them.
Suning, as a company with the motto of “technology first” and also China’s biggest retail company, was strengthening its efforts with AI technology, he said, striving to become the leader in “smart commerce”.
Xiang spoke about a “conversational eCommerce platform” Suning is developing, saying current online shopping procedures were not the most convenient.
Suning would apply AI technology, for instance a chatbot, to promote “smart retail” and to create more convenience for customers. Buyers would simply give shopping instructions to the chatbot, which would choose the most suitable commodities based on the buyer’s previous purchases. Meanwhile, the payment and delivery would all be executed automatically.
Also involved in the forum were UCB Business College principal Gregory LaBlanc, LinkedIn head of analytics and data Michael Li, Cheetah Mobile engineering VP Bo Tao and Databricks co-founder Reynold Xin.
With the summit having as its main focus the establishment of connections between Chinese companies and investment resources and firms in the San Francisco area, there was also the mission of exchanging IT technology and showcasing the technological achievements of the Suning US R&D Center (SURDC). The centre has launched a public open house displaying the scientific and technological achievements of its first three years.
Among these, the Big Data Lab showcased a credit-scoring module, anti-fraud module, chart code and machine-learning platform developed to guarantee systematic security for Suning’s online platform,
The Innovative Application Lab showcased its AR project, giving visitors the chance to experience virtual shopping, and the Search/Applied AI Lab showcased the concept of a conversational eCommerce platform.  
Suning has development centers in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Silicon Valley, with more than 5000 IT technicians.

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