We had reported in November who Alibaba had decided to shut down its quantum research team and donate the remaining equipment to Zhejiang University. And at that time, we cautioned that we could see more of this. Now, Baidu has announced that it is donating a quantum computing laboratory and equipment to the Beijing Academy of Quantum Information Sciences (BAQIS). The parties are still working out the details and it is not known if the researchers who were working on Baidu’s quantum research will also join BAQIS or stay with Alibaba or go elsewhere.

The company did not state why it is making this move, but a possible reason could be a decision to focus more resources on artificial intelligence which would provide more immediate benefits. Another possibility is that with the global nature of the quantum technology industry, there is more difficulty for Chinese researchers to obtain the needed components and materials from a supply chain that has a significant number of items sourced from vendors located in the Western world. Additional information about this is available in a news article posted by the South China Morning Post and also another article posted by Reuters.

January 5, 2024