(Yicai Global) March 21 -- Alibaba Group Holding's AI Labs has set up a special team tasked with protecting China's regional dialects with an investment of CNY100 million (USD15 million).
The Hangzhou-based tech giant will work to optimize the understanding of the western Sichuan dialect initially before expanding the program to other local languages in the country, reports online news outlet Sina Tech.
AI Labs will build a national network based on samples of voice interactions with mobile applications and smart speakers as a basis and establish key performance indicators for language protection to protect those that are endangered.
The team will also work closely with policymakers, experts, scholars and universities to explore the protective development of dialects.
Alibaba AI Labs General Manager Chen Lijuan will lead the team. The team aims to boost the functions of the firm's Tmall Genie smart speaker product through its work, Chen said.
Editor: William Clegg