Alibaba’s Damo Academy Unveils AI Models Geared to Southeast Asia
Qian Tongxin
DATE:  Dec 13 2023
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Alibaba’s Damo Academy Unveils AI Models Geared to Southeast Asia Alibaba’s Damo Academy Unveils AI Models Geared to Southeast Asia

(Yicai) Dec. 13 -- Damo Academy, Alibaba Group Holding's research and development institute, has unveiled two artificial intelligence models tailored to process Southeast Asian languages and reflect local cultural nuances.

SeaLLM and its conversational fine-tuned version SeaLLM-chat come in two sizes, 13 billion and 7 billion parameters, Damo Academy announced on Dec. 11. They are capable of processing SE Asian languages, including Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Malay, Khmer, Lao, Tagalog, and Burmese, it said.

The AI models can perform tasks that align with local customs, style, and legal stipulations better than other large language models trained on English and Latin-based datasets, Damo Academy said. They can also empower companies to build chatbot assistants for businesses dealing with SE Asian markets, it noted.

“This innovation is set to hasten the democratization of AI, empowering communities historically underrepresented in the digital realm,” said Bing Lidong, director of Damo Academy's Language Technology Lab.

Alibaba makes local LLMs to meet the needs of Chinese e-commerce and logistics companies developing business in SE Asia, according to an analyst. With the rise of livestreaming, cross-border e-commerce businesses face challenges recruiting and managing foreign streamers, so they hope to use AI tools to set up local services quickly and at a low cost, the person said.

For example, Alibaba’s Lazada, Southeast Asia's largest e-commerce platform, aims for turnover of USD100 billion by 2030, having 300 million users in the region. TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, has just bought a controlling stake in the Indonesian e-commerce platform Tokopedia for USD840 million, it said on Dec. 11.

Chinese AI firms are still faced with challenges in the fast-changing market, including how to attract more users and the lack of killer apps, though they have many LLMs, the analyst noted.

In addition to Alibaba’s AI models for SE Asia, a National Multimodal LLM program funded by the Singapore National Research Foundation has also been launched, whileChinese AI firm iFlytek has also announced a Southeast Asian LLM strategy.

Editors: Martin Kadiev

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Keywords:   Alibaba,DAMO,Southeast Asia,LLM,generative AI