(Yicai Global) Dec. 29 -- Wuliangye Yibin Co. [SHE:000858] and International Business Machines Corp. [NYSE:IBM] will work together on logistics, packaging, wine and finance to advance the Chinese liquor producer's digitalization. The firms inked an agreement in Chengdu on Dec. 27, online media outlet Jiemian reported.
The Yibin-based group will introduce IBM's Watson artificial intelligence technology and incorporate its strategic planning in machinery manufacturing, packaging, logistics, and medical and health care to jointly establish the Watson Innovative Center offering AI solutions. The companies will set up the Watson Fund, develop technologies and promote the implementation of innovative results.
At the recent Wuliangye Wine Merchants Meeting, Wuliangye said that it would "restart business," make its wine operations bigger and stronger and build itself into a large group with CNY100 billion (USD15.4 billion) of output during the 13th Five Year Plan period.
To this end, the beverage maker will the increase the reserve capacity of its workshops, improve production efficiency and enhance shops and smart stores.
IBM's digital technologies including cloud computing, Big Data analytics and blockchain will assist Wuliangye in collecting information, analyzing it, and setting up hardware and software, boosting its managing capabilities and efficiency.
While advancing its main business, Wuliangye is working on building a financial group where traditional and innovative businesses link up to make breakthroughs in the integration of industry and finance. The Watson Fund's establishment marks the beginning of Wuliangye's presence in the financial realm.
Wuliangye chose to work with IBM because the tech giant joined hands with Sichuan Demin Investment Co. to develop a smart platform for white spirit consumption services and smart wine selling terminals as early as 2014.
At that time, white spirit producers would use third-party platforms for technological services. Now, they tend to create their own.
At the end of last year, Wuliangye said that it would invest CNY144 million on building its cloud computing and Big Data software and hardware and setting up a service-oriented e-commerce platform over the following years. It kicked off a smart terminal pilot this year.