Accenture invests in strategic alliance with Chinese AI firm Malong Technologies

22 August 2018 Authored by Consultancy.asia

Global professional services giant Accenture has formed a strategic alliance with Chinese artificial intelligence company Malong Technologies in a continuation of the tech-minded firm’s world-wide push.

In a move that marks its first in China, Accenture Ventures has made an undisclosed minority investment in Chinese artificial intelligence firm Malong Technologies, with Accenture’s Applied Intelligence practice and Malong to pursue a strategic alliance in the development of computer vision and product recognition provisions for clients worldwide.

Listed as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and Gartner Cool Vendor for 2018, the Shenzhen-headquartered start-up is noted for its ProductAI platform, a product recognition and auto-tagging technology which allows machines to ‘see’ physical objects in the way that a person would, with practical applications from retail efficiency to medical advancements.

For example, the ProductAI platform can enable consumers to shop for products by taking a picture of the item – from clothes to wine to furniture – with the potential to render barcodes obsolete, while at the other end of the spectrum the technology can be used for defect detection in manufacturing, enhanced security scanning, and the analysis of medical images for diagnosis.Accenture invests in AI tech firm Malong Technologies of China “AI has been making incredible strides in advancing computer vision, as is clearly demonstrated in what Malong Technologies is now able to offer to organizations,” Accenture’s veteran chief technology and innovation officer Paul Daugherty said. “Our alliance and investment in them ensures that Accenture and our Applied Intelligence practice will stay ahead of the curve when it comes to offering clients innovation through AI and intelligent technologies, across industries and countries.”

Malong Technologies CEO Dinglong Huang responded in kind; “Our award-winning scientific research in deep learning and computer vision has allowed us to develop an accurate, affordable, and secure cloud-based cognitive service that can deliver significant impact across many business use cases. Gaining Accenture as an investor and alliance partner will allow us to jointly bring our services to top-tier companies worldwide.”

As part of the strategic alliance, Accenture Applied Intelligence, which sits within the Accenture Digital arm, will be designated by Malong as its preferred systems integrator and advisory partner, while according to Accenture the Malong investment will form a ‘cornerstone’ of its growing vision capabilities, granting the firm a strategic foothold in a competitive local market – with the deal described as part of Accenture’s wider regional growth strategy.

Wei Zhu, Accenture chairman for Greater China, said, “China is fast becoming a global hub for innovation, particularly in the field of AI. With Malong Technologies, we have gained a partner that adds significant value to our Applied Intelligence portfolio and underscores our goal of becoming a key enabler for AI innovation in Asia and beyond.”

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