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Business trends

JD.com and Alibaba bring AI expertise to overseas push

Slowing growth in China prompts e-commerce leaders to diversify

JD.com’s unmanned store in Jakarta: Chinese online retailers are emphasizing their artificial intelligence, facial recognition and other technologies as part of an overseas expansion drive.

SHANGHAI -- Faced with the prospect of slowing growth at home, Chinese online retailers are turning their attention overseas, as they look to leverage their know-how in artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and other automation technologies to grow their businesses.

Although just two companies, Alibaba Group Holding and JD.com, control more than 80% of China's e-commerce market, and sales are still brisk -- growing 25.6% on the year in 2016 and 28% in 2017, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics -- there are signs of a slowdown. Overall consumer spending in China is rising at a more modest annual pace of around 10% or so and is unlikely to rise much.

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